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Hotel guest facing felony charges in a crime most fowl

  • Article by: Tom Meersman
  • Star Tribune
  • September 22, 2007 - 11:45 PM

A guest at the Embassy Suites hotel in St. Paul could face jail time and a $5,000 fine for ripping the head off a tame duck.

The 26-year-old Denver businessman is in jail on suspicion of felony animal cruelty and is scheduled to appear in court Monday. The Star Tribune generally does not identify suspects until they are formally charged.

According to police, the hotel keeps an ornamental pond with about eight domestic ducks inside the lobby and atrium. About 2:30 a.m. Saturday, the man suddenly chased down and killed one of the ducks.

"One of the security guards watched [the man] corner one of the ducks and tear its head off from its body," said Sgt. John Wuorinen, citing the report.

The man then reportedly told astonished onlookers that he was hungry.

"It sounds like there was quite a bit of alcohol involved," Wuorinen said.

The man was detained by hotel security guards until police arrived and took him into custody.

Live ducks are at risk

Tim Shields, general counsel with the Minnesota Federated Humane Societies, said the man could face up to two years in jail along with the fine. He called the incident "unconscionable," and said having live ducks in a hotel lobby puts them at other risks, such as being stepped on or run over by suitcases.

"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," Shields said.

The hotel's management did not return calls for comment.

Tom Meersman • 612-673-7388

Tom Meersman • meersman@startribune.com

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