A man in California is accused of a particularly heinous and disturbing crime, committed against an ex-girlfriend he abused and stalked.
Police said Ryan Eddy Watenpaugh, 34, of Palo Cedro, killed his ex-girlfriend's dog (a Pomeranian named Bear) cooked it and fed it to her. The Sacramento Bee has details of the crime as well as a frightening description of the abuse and stalking the woman went through before he killed her dog:
According to a written statement by Redding police, a woman reported on Tuesday that she was being stalked by Watenpaugh, whom she had dated for several months. She said he had physically attacked her numerous times, causing bruises and minor cuts, and had held her captive twice. The victim fled her Redding-area apartment after he attacked her during an argument Aug. 4, police said. When she returned, Watenpaugh and her Pomeranian dog, Bear, were gone.
The couple briefly reconciled during the first week of September, when Watenpaugh cooked her a meal with meat, police said. Last Sunday, he sent her a text message referencing the meal and asking "how her dog tasted," the police statement said.
The couple separated, but Watenpaugh continued sending her texts describing what he planned to do with the dog's remains.
On Tuesday, the woman said Watenpaugh came to her home at 1 a.m. and placed dog paws on her doorstep. She later told police they were Bear's. My heart just broke into a million pieces for this woman and for poor, helpless little Bear.
Watenpaugh was arrested on charges of domestic violence, animal cruelty, false imprisonment and stalking (he may face additional weapons charges stemming from a gun that police discovered during a search of his home.)
Watenpaugh has so far denied killing Bear and cooking him, but he did admit to being the one who place the little dog's paws on her doorstep and sending her the text messages. He abused her, tormented her mentally and physically and then taunted her with messages about what he had done. Because it wasn't good enough for him to just be violent and abusive—he had to make sure she knew he was responsible for it and was reminded about it nonstop. Threatening to harm pets is, sadly, an all too common tactic abusers use to scare their victims into staying with them and to keep them under their control. In some cases, such as this one, they make good on those threats.
Image via Redding Police Department.