OCDA Charges OCFA Equipment Operator with Felony Animal Cruelty

Ryan John Monteleone. Photo courtesy OCDA

[Warning: this story contains a description of intense cruelty to a dog.]

The Orange County District Attorney’s office has charged Ryan John Monteleone, 44, of Menifee, with felony animal cruelty, according to a statement the OCDA’s office released on Nov. 21.

Irvine Police arrested Monteleone, who works as a heavy fire equipment operator for the Orange County Fire Authority, on Oct. 17 for allegedly shooting his dog in the head and then disposing of the corpse in a dumpster at the fire station in Irvine where he worked.

A spokesperson for the OCFA did not respond to a request for comment by press time. According to the OCDA’s office, the dog was first discovered back in August.

“On August 9, 2019 a Waste Management trash truck driver discovered the body of the dead dog inside a dumpster at an OCFA fire station on Fossil Road in Irvine,” states the OCDA’s news release. “A subsequent investigation revealed the dog had been shot in the head.”

The DA’s office has charged Monteleone with one felony count of cruelty to animals and one misdemeanor count of putting a carcass of a dead animal on the road. He faces no more than three years and six months, if he’s convicted of all charges.

“Animals do not have the ability to call for help when they are being abused, making them especially vulnerable to violence,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer in the Nov. 21 OCDA news release. “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.”

Monteleone is scheduled to be arraigned on Dec. 2 at the Harbor Justice Center in Department H1 at 8:30 a.m.

Anthony Pignataro has been a journalist since 1996. He spent a dozen years as Editor of MauiTime, the last alt weekly in Hawaii. He also wrote three trashy novels about Maui, which were published by Event Horizon Press. But he got his start at OC Weekly, and returned to the paper in 2019 as a Staff Writer.

4 Replies to “OCDA Charges OCFA Equipment Operator with Felony Animal Cruelty”

  1. Maybe more details of the story would reveal the answer to this, but what is the difference between this and euthanasia? Can veterinarians euthanize pets on demand in CA? If he got a good shot and the dog did not suffer, I cannot see the issue here. Remember old yeller?

    1. I agree, Not happy if he did it because he was simply tired of the dog. But, if did it because it was sick or injured, then I don’t see the intent to be cruel. In fact, I see the opposite.

      However, there is the whole issue of discharging a firearm in the city limits.

    2. Exactly. But maybe they left out some important detail. Journalists these days tread carefully to avoid being targeted by the tantrum-prone cancel culture. Killing human babies? Fine. A bullet to the head of a vicious dog? Felony. Nutty society we live in.

  2. I wonder if Anthony Pignataro knows anything about the circumstances of this incident? Murrieta Patch commenters seem to know something about it and it seems the dog was vicious. People are praising Mr. Monteleone for taking care of the threat before a child or adult was maimed or killed. Of course, some nutty people would be fine with an animal killing a human–serves them right, you know ;).

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