(Reuters) - A northern California man was in police custody on Friday after allegedly stealing his ex-girlfriend’s pet dog, cooking it and feeding it to her, police said.
Ryan Watenpaugh, 34, of Palo Cedro was arrested on Thursday and charged with counts of domestic violence, false imprisonment, stalking and cruelty to animals, according to records from the Shasta County Jail.
Watenpaugh’s ex-grilfriend, who was not named by authorities, called Redding Police Department on Tuesday and reported being stalked by Watenpaugh, police said in a statement.
She told law enforcement officials that their relationship was punctuated by bouts of domestic violence, but the two attempted to reconcile their problems last week over a meal that he cooked.
Following the meal, which contained meat, Watenpaugh sent her text messages asking how her dog tasted, police said. A few days later, he left a bag on her porch that contained two dog paws.
The victim’s dog, a Pomeranian named Bear, had been missing since August after she fled the apartment to escape one of Watenpaugh’s assaults, police said.
Police said they interviewed Watenpaugh and he admitted to menacing her and leaving the paws on her porch, but denied killing or cooking the animal.
While executing a search warrant on his house, authorities found an AK-47 assault rifle and several high capacity magazines, police said.
Watenpaugh is being held in the Shasta County Jail on $250,000 bail, according to jail records. It was not clear if he had an attorney.
Redding is roughly 160 miles northwest of Sacramento.
Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco