WELLINGTON, Fla. —
A man who intentionally slaughtered nine baby ducks by driving a lawnmower over them has pleaded guilty to felony animal-cruelty charges and will spend the next year in the Palm Beach County Jail.
Circuit Court Judge Glenn Kelley on Thursday sentenced Jason Scott Falbo II, 24, of The Acreage to a combined three years of probation on these nine charges as well as a domestic battery charge from an incident a month before the killing of the ducks. The first of those years will be spent in the jail.
“They should have just thrown away the keys,” Boyd Jentzsch, the resident who called Palm Beach County Animal Care & Control about the slaying of the ducks, said Saturday when told of Falbo’s sentence. “There is no justification for what he’s done,” Jentzsch said.
Jentzsch called Animal Care & Control officers to his home on Shaughnessey Drive in the Olympia community at Forest Hill Boulevard and State Road 7 at about 2 p.m. May 2, according to a probable-cause affidavit released by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
He told Officer Tania Quinones he was feeding a female Muscovy duck and her eleven ducklings outside his home. He went inside after he left food out for them near a tree with his wife, Larissa Gontchar, and their son.
“We have five to six families of ducks come here at least two or three times a day,” Jentzsch said.
Gontchar joined Jentzsch at his door when they observed Falbo riding on a lawn mower. Falbo started to head toward the mother and her baby ducks when he then “ran directly over the ducklings and body parts were scattered all over the lawn,” the police report said.
Gontchar and Jentzsch ran out to Falbo yelling at him to stop, but Falbo smiled, backed up his mower, and continued to kill more ducklings. Jentzsch got in front of the mower and asked Falbo what he was doing
“They were in my path, so I just kept mowing,” the police report quoted Falbo as saying.
“I thought he was going to run over my toes,” Jentzsch said. “He wasn’t even cutting the grass. … He went right toward (the ducklings) and veered to the left.”
The mother duck and her four remaining ducklings avoided the mower and headed to a nearby lake, but two ducklings later drowned from injuries.
Falbo’s employer, Wayne Soini, from Reliable Lawn Care, told Quinones it was Falbo’s first day on the job. He also said Falbo was not mowing the lawn in the right path.
But Jentzsch said it was Falbo’s first day driving the mower truck, not his first day on the job, and he had seen Falbo in their neighborhood once or twice before.
“Just seeing the look on his face, it told me he was a very violent person inside,” Jentzsch said.
Besides the probation and jail time, Falbo must also serve 10 hours of community service each month and have a mental health exam within 30 days after he is released from jail.
Falbo also pleaded guilty at the same time to charges of domestic battery by strangulation, after he got in a fight with his girlfriend about a month before the duck incident.
According to the police report, Falbo was upset with his girlfriend when she refused to tell him who she was texting on her phone. He pushed her to the ground, took her by the neck and began choking her, the report stated.