A California man tormented his ex-girlfriend with text messages about her missing dog, including ones that convinced her he’d cooked and served it to her, Redding police said.
Ryan Eddy Watenpaugh, 34, was arrested Thursday evening, two days after he left the paws of his ex-girlfriend’s Pomeranian, named Bear, on her front porch, police Sgt. Todd Cogle said.
The woman approached officers after that and told them Watenpaugh had taken her dog after their last fight, in which she said he’d assaulted her and she’d fled Aug. 4, Cogle said.
When she returned, Watenpaugh and Bear were gone.
About a month later, Watenpaugh and the woman reconciled briefly, she told police. He prepared a meal that included meat, Cogle said.
“On Sept. 7, the victim received a text message from Watenpaugh asking how her dog tasted,” Cogle said. The victim believed he’d killed and cooked the dog, Cogle said.
He said Watenpaugh continued sending text messages about further plans for Bear, including returning to her its paws.
Early Tuesday morning, the victim told officers, she saw him place a bag on her porch. Inside were two of Bear’s paws, the woman told police.
Investigators obtained search warrants and, on Thursday, arrested Watenpaugh during a traffic stop in the 8000 block of Silver Bridge Road, Cogle said. He said the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation aided police.
Investigators found weapons and ammunition, including an AK-47 rifle and high capacity magazines, at his home, Cogle said.
Watenpaugh told investigators he didn’t cook or kill the dog, though he admitted to sending the texts and placing Bear’s paws at the woman’s home, Cogle said.
He said the victim also told police Watenpaugh had previously beaten her during their relationship, and twice kept her from leaving.
Watenpaugh was taken to the Shasta County Jail, where he was being held in lieu of $250,000 bail on suspicion of domestic violence, false imprisonment, stalking and animal cruelty, police said.
Cogle said additional charges will be sought related to weapons violations.