After Jason Falbo was arrested when he allegedly mowed over a family of ducks — killing 9 of them — a Wellington, Florida family was left emotionally torn by the bird deaths. However, the landscaper’s boss said Falbo’s killing of the ducklings was accidental, according to the Palm Beach Post. Furthermore, the suspect facing animal cruelty charges had a previous run-in with law enforcement.
The incident took place in Olympia, a gated community in the area, on May 2, and sources have been following the story for developments. Records show that Falbo, 24, whose last known address is in Royal Palm Beach, was cutting the grass alongside a pond where a family of ducks and other aquatic birds frequent.
— WJZ | CBS Baltimore (@cbsbaltimore) May 15, 2015
Laura Gontchar sat in the patio of her home with her husband, Boyd Jentzsch and 7-year-old son, Kai. And as they did frequently, the family observed birds in the area feed on treats they’ve left underneath the canopy of trees or other areas.
On this day, they noticed a mother duck and 11 of her babies foraging. What allegedly came next was horrifying. The family of three observed Jason Falbo turning his attention to the birds. Suddenly, he accelerates his riding lawn mower, aims it towards the ducks and mows them over.
Gontchar’s family ran out and confronted the grass cutter, who gave them a curt smile and said it was an accident. However, the man put the mower in reverse and ran over the remaining live ducks. The mother duck and four managed to escape into the water, but two babies drowned in the process. Gontchar’s husband asked the man to leave, and police were called to the scene.
Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office deputies and animal control officers located Jason Falbo a short time later. After a brief investigation, they arrested him for mowing over the hapless family of ducks, according to the police report.
“The lawn man then ran directly over the ducklings and body parts were scattered all over the lawn. [Witnesses] all observed the ducklings being chopped up into little pieces.”
“The lawn man then backed up again, proceeded forward killing more ducklings and aiming for the mother and two remaining ducklings.”
Falbo’s boss, Wayne Soini, spoke to reporters after his employee’s arrest. In his opinion, the lawn care worker accidentally ran over the duck family. Soini said the grass community had overgrowth at the time; the height of grass was about nine inches, he said.And by the time the mower rider saw the ducks, it was too late; he was already “on top of them.”
However, witnesses say when asked why he mowed down the ducks, Jason Falbo said, “They were in my path so I just kept mowing.” The police report noted that the family, which was a longer distance away, managed to see the ducks, despite Falbo claiming the grass shielded them from view.
According to county arrest records, the suspect in the bird deaths has a history of domestic violence investigations. In April, he was accused of domestic battery by strangulation, aggravated child abuse, cruelty towards a child, and battery.
In a sad development, Gontchar said the mother returned back to the scene over several days in search of her babies. Obviously, she was acting on maternal instinct.
“She came back and was clucking, calling for her ducklings. But they weren’t there.”
The deputy who arrested the lawn worker described the incident using sharp language in the report. It left no question about how they believe the ducklings were killed by the man’s lawn mower.
“Due to eye-witness testimony by three people, nine baby ducks lost their lives cruelly and viciously with extreme intent by Jason Falbo.”
After his arrest for having mowed over the ducks, Jason Falbo posted bail for $27,000 and was released. It’s unknown when his next court appearance is scheduled.
[Photo by David McNew/Getty Images]