SANTA ANA (CBSLA) – An employee for the Orange County Fire Authority shot and killed his dog in August and then dumped his body at an Irvine fire station, prosecutors reported Thursday.
Forty-four-year-old Ryan John Monteleone, a heavy fire equipment operator for OCFA, is charged with one felony count of cruelty to animals and one misdemeanor count of putting a carcass of a dead animal on the road.
The investigation began on Aug. 9, when a trash truck driver discovered the dead dog in a dumpster at an OCFA fire station on Fossil Road in Irvine, according to the O.C. District Attorney’s Office.
The dog had been shot in the head.
An investigation lead to the Oct. 17 arrest of Monteleone in Irvine, the DA’s office said. Monteleone resides in Menifee.
It’s unclear where or why he allegedly shot the dog or what lead investigators to him as a suspect. He remains employed with OCFA. The agency noted that he is not a firefighter.
“OCFA heavy fire equipment operator Ryan Monteleone remains on duty while facing criminal charges against him,” the agency wrote in a statement Thursday to CBS2. “After review, we have concluded that Monteleone can continue to do his duties during this time, and poses no threat to his colleagues or the public.”
If convicted as charged, Monteleone faces a maximum sentence of three years and six months in prison. He is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 2.
“Animals do not have the ability to call for help when they are being abused, making them especially vulnerable to violence,” DA Todd Spitzer said in a statement. “The abuse of animals will never be acceptable; this kind of conduct is even more egregious when the abuse is carried out by a public servant whose entire career is devoted to helping others.”