A Florida landscaper is facing animal cruelty charges after he allegedly ran over a family of ducklings with a riding lawnmower multiple times.
Jason Falbo, 24, was mowing the lawn at the Wellington home of Boyd Jentzsch and Laura Gontchar on the afternoon of May 2, the Sun Sentinel reports. Gontchar told the Sun Sentinel that recently a mother duck and her 11 ducklings had been regularly wandering into the yard from a nearby pond, much to the delight of the couple’s son, 7-year-old Kai.
Gontchar told the Palm Beach Post that while Falbo was mowing, the ducklings and their mother waddled into the yard to eat food that the family had set out for them. She said she watched Falbo appear to deliberately change directions to run over the ducks.
Gontchar said she and her husband ran out of the house, screaming at Falbo to stop. Jentzsch told the Sun Sentinel that Kai was crying and asking, “What are you doing to my ducks?”
They said Falbo then backed up and ran over the ducklings again, smiling and laughing.
The mother and four ducklings escaped the mower, but two of those ducklings were injured so severely that they were unable to swim and drowned.
“Everything was flying in the air, the blade was so powerful,” Gontchar told the Palm Beach Post. “It was horrific.”
Falbo’s boss at Reliable Lawn Care, a man who identified himself only as “Wayne” to CBS 12, told the affiliate that he believes Falbo did not kill the ducklings on purpose.
“They were tiny,” Wayne, who was not at the scene when the incident occurred, told the TV station. “So by the time he said he did see them it was too late, he was already on top of him. The reason he threw it in reverse [was because] there were more in front of him, so when he backed up it was to prevent [killing] the ones that were still there.”
Wayne, who also rents out a room in his home to Falbo, told CBS 12 that Falbo is “kind-hearted.”
Falbo was arrested on nine counts of animal cruelty and taken to the Palm Beach County Jail on $27,000 bond.
H/T Dreamin' Demon