A Denver man who witnesses say ripped the head off a tame duck that lived in a pond in a hotel lobby was charged Monday with a felony count of animal cruelty.
A police officer said that Scott D. Clark, a guest at the Embassy Suites Hotel in St. Paul, cornered the duck early Saturday, ripped its head off and turned to onlookers and said: "I'm hungry. I'm gonna eat it."
"He was allegedly drunk," St. Paul police Sgt. John Wuorinen said.
If convicted, Clark could face up to two years in prison and be fined $5,000. Clark appeared in court Monday, where his bond was set at $10,000.
A security officer told police that Clark cornered the duck against a brick wall, grabbed the duck, and while holding its body with one hand, ripped its head off with the other hand in a "jerking type motion."
Clark took the body of the duck up to the fifth floor and at that point, was detained by security officers.
Police found the body of the duck lying just outside the elevator. The duck's head was found in the hotel's pond with feathers and blood strewn about the hotel lobby.
Police said there were drops of blood on Clark's shirt, and when he was arrested, Clark told police he works for the federal government. He demanded to know the officers' names and said when it was all over, he would have their jobs.
When told that he was in trouble, Clark said, "Why, because I killed it out of season? Big deal. It's a f****** duck," according to the criminal complaint. (Read criminal complaint
A humane society official called the incident "unconscionable," but also criticizes the hotel for keeping live ducks in the lobby.
"I think Embassy Suites needs to take another look at this and review how they keep ducks safe, or use fish like most hotels would use," said Tim Shields. "This sort of behavior by someone is very troubling. Someone who would attack a duck in a public place like that, an animal in a public place like that, supposedly announce they're going to eat it, is a pretty serious matter. And in fact, in Minnesota it would be a felony."
The Embassy Suites keeps eight domesticated ducks as pets for the enjoyment of hotel guests and visitors. The ducks roam the pond area and planted walkways, located in the atrium of the hotel. The ducks are especially trained to live in the hotel and cost about $400 each, according to the hotel's general manager.
Clark is an auditor in the Office of Inspector General in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Denver.
Clark's next court appearance is Oct. 16.
Copyright Copyright 2007 by TheDenverChannel.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.