Jason Falbo
Jason Falbo Palm Beach County sheriff's office

A Florida man has been arrested after running over a mother duck and her 11 ducklings with a lawn mower as a family that had been feeding the birds looked on in horror.

US landscaper Jason Falbo, 24, was charged with nine counts of animal cruelty following the brutal attack on 2 May in Wellington, south Florida.

Boyd Jentzsch, his wife Laura Gontchar and seven-year-old Kai had put food out for the family of Muscovy ducks that lived outside their home.

As the family were happily watching the mother duck and her 11 ducklings peck up food in their backyard, Falbo swerved his riding mower straight over the ducks as the onlookers screamed.

Jentzsche ran outside and confronted Falbo, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.

"We were horrified," said Jentzsch. "I couldn't believe it was happening. It was totally disgusting."

"What are you doing?" he screamed. "These are our friends. These are our babies, we love to feed them!"

In an even more grisly turn of events, the landscaper smiled as he reversed the mower and backed up over the ducklings.

"What are you doing to my ducks?" Kai cried. "Why are you laughing?"

Jentzsche called the police and Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control, but by that time nine ducklings had been killed - seven in the attack and two others that escaped into a lake and drowned.

The mother duck and two of her ducklings survived. Tragically, she returned to the scene of the crime several hours later to search for her lost young.

Falbo is being held at the county jail on $27,000 (£17,000) bail.

The police report noted that the nine baby ducks lost their lives "cruelly and viciously with extreme intent".