Man Arrested for Decapitating Girlfriend’s Pet Duck

A Michigan man, aged 49, was apprehended over the weekend for purportedly decapitating his girlfriend’s pet duck with his bare hands in an attempt to “send a message” after a dispute. The man then discarded the animal’s severed body into a 5-gallon bucket and forcefully made his girlfriend look at the gruesome sight, an act the local sheriff described as “domestic violence at an epic level.”

The man, identified as Michael Lee Humphries, was taken into custody on Sunday morning. He faces charges including felony first-degree maiming/torturing/killing an animal, felony resisting/obstructing an officer, and domestic violence. Humphries is also being considered a habitual offender due to a prior conviction in St. Clair County for aggravated stalking in 2019. The victim of the domestic violence in that case was a different woman than Humphries’ current girlfriend.

Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson, in a video posted on the GCSO Facebook page, stated that Humphries’ act of decapitating a pet was solely for the purpose of psychological domination and intimidation of a domestic violence victim. In March 2023, Humphries had bought two ducklings for his girlfriend, which she had been keeping as pets. The couple had been together for about 18 months when the incident occurred.

According to Sheriff Swanson, the couple had attended a Stevie Nicks concert on the evening of Saturday, Aug. 5, where they had a heated argument. The dispute continued through the night and into Sunday morning. At some point on Sunday morning, Humphries decided to target one of the pet ducks to “send a message” to his girlfriend.

Sheriff Swanson described the incident as an “explosion of violence.” During the argument, Humphries went to the barn, grabbed one of the ducks, and decapitated it in front of his girlfriend. He then placed the duck’s body into a 5-gallon bucket and forced his girlfriend to look at it, leaving marks on her face in the process. This act, according to Swanson, exemplifies “domestic violence at an epic level.”

When sheriff deputies arrived at the scene, Humphries allegedly resisted arrest. Under Michigan state law, intentionally torturing or killing a domesticated animal is a felony. Depending on various factors, Humphries could face a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

Sheriff Swanson emphasized the link between animal abuse, neglect, torture, and maiming, and violence against vulnerable adults, children, the elderly, and the addicted. The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office released graphic photos of the duck’s head and body following the horrific attack. However, due to the disturbing nature of the photos, they are not being published here.

Humphries was taken into custody and released after posting a $5,000 bond. He is currently scheduled to appear in court again for his probable cause conference on Aug. 17.