ST. PAUL (AP) - A Denver man was charged Monday with a felony count of animal cruelty for allegedly tearing off the head of a live duck at a St. Paul hotel.
Scott D. Clark, 26, faces a maximum sentence of two years in jail and a $5,000 fine for killing one of about seven domesticated pet ducks, each valued at $400, that swim in a pond at the Embassy Suites Hotel.
Clark allegedly chased a duck that was swimming in the pond on Saturday, eventually cornering it, grabbing it and tearing off its head. He then allegedly turned to a group of onlookers and said, "I'm hungry. I'm gonna eat it." Authorities say they believe Clark had been drinking.
Clark, who posted bail Monday and was released, could not be reached for comment.
According to a criminal complaint, Clark was belligerent when police arrested him about 2:30 a.m. Saturday.
"Mr. Clark stated to police that he worked for the federal government and when this was over he would have the officers' jobs," the complaint said. Records show Clark is an auditor in the Office of Inspector General in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Denver.
The complaint said Clark asked officers if he was in trouble.
"Yes," they told him.
"Why, because I killed it out of season?" the complaint quotes Clark as saying. "Big deal, it's just a ... duck."
Rosco Larson, general manager of the Embassy Suites, said Monday, "These animals have been a part of our hotel's family for many years and we are deeply saddened by this incident."
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)