A Shasta County man is in custody for killing his girlfriend’s dog, then allegedly feeding her part of the remains. It is a gory end to what has been described as an abusive relationship.
An unusual case that even disturbed police, after they found the suspect had dropped off a bag at his ex-girlfriend’s home with two dog paws inside. “It set all of us back when we read the text messages about the incident.” That incident was the disappearance of a pomeranian dog which belonged to 34-year old Ryan Eddy Watenpaugh’s girlfriend. According to Redding Police investigators, Watenpaugh sent gruesome, detailed messages to his then-girlfriend, causing her to believe he was responsible for her dog’s disappearance.
“You can really get the sense from reviewing the texts that the relationship was toxic…a pressure cooker…it was not gonna have a happy ending.” Sergeant Cogle says the couple was involved in an argument back on August 4th, which prompted Watenpaugh’s girlfriend to leave his home — when she later returned — Watenpaugh and her dog “Bear” were missing. The couple reconciled after a short period of time and Watenpaugh tried to make things right again by cooking for his girlfriend. But it’s what he said he cooked that she found extremely disturbing.
“The suspect asked her how “Bear” tasted…obviously referencing the meal he prepared for her.” Haven Humane CEO Mark Storrey — a dog lover himself — took the news pretty hard. “I can’t understand when someone dumps an animal they’ve had for years…now if someone is allegedly killing and cutting an animal, that blows me away…I can’t understand how someone can be that demented.”
On Tuesday, the victim said Watenpaugh left a bag at her front door — inside the bag were the paws of what she believed to be her dog, “Bear.” Watenpaugh was arrested Thursday evening near the 8,000-block of Silver Bridge Road in Palo Cedro. “He was booked into the Shasta County Jail and is being charged with domestic violence, stalking, animal cruelty and imprisonment.”
Watenpaugh admitted to leaving “Bear”‘s paws in front of his ex-girlfriend’s home, but denied anything to do with its death. “We never found the dog…we haven’t found the carcass or remains.” Sgt. Cogle says investigators will head back to the ex-girlfriend’s home Friday to collect more evidence for the case.
One of our contributors was talking to an attorney familiar with the case. The burden of proof is on the People, and if it’s true that the defendant actually admitted he cooked dog body parts and fed it to the girlfriend or ex girlfriend, then we would guess that the defendant’s chances of acquittal (on animal abuse) are slim. However, what would it take to prove that defendant killed dog or killed dog first? Allegedly defendant claimed he found dog already dead. The CA Penal Code has different sections for harm to animals. Obviously the DA would be working on a charge for maiming or maybe torture rather than negligence.
California Penal Code Section 598b
598b. (a) Every person is guilty of a misdemeanor who possesses, imports into, or exports from, this state, sells, buys, gives away, or accepts any carcass or part of any carcass of any animal traditionally or commonly kept as a pet or companion with the intent of using or having another person use any part of that carcass for food. (b) Every person is guilty of a misdemeanor who possesses, imports into, or exports from, this state, sells, buys, gives away, or accepts any animal traditionally or commonly kept as a pet or companion with the intent of killing or having another person kill that animal for the purpose of using or having another person use any part of the animal for food. (c) This section shall not be construed to interfere with the production, marketing, or disposal of any livestock, poultry, fish, shellfish, or any other agricultural commodity produced in this state. Nor shall this section be construed to interfere with the lawful killing of wildlife, or the lawful killing of any other animal under the laws of this state pertaining to game animals.