An American motorist ran over and killed a mother duck as she walked her 12 ducklings across a shopping centre, a court heard.
Joshua Linhares turned his car in the direction of the birds and drove straight at the mother mallard.
A jury in New Bedford, Massachusetts, yesterday took just 15 minutes to convict the 25-year-old of animal cruelty.
Orphaned: Joshua Linhares was convicted of animal cruelty after running over the mother of these 12 ducklings
Assistant District Attorney T.J. Rebello told the town's district court: 'The high rate of speed he drives off in shows this was something more than an accident.'
Convicted: Joshua Linhares claimed he did not see the ducks
Jurors were shown a CCTV video taken from Macyís in the Dartmouth Mall, which captured the moment Linharesí car struck the mother mallard duck as she crossed a car park with her ducklings.
The motorist claimed he did not see the birds when he drove into the middle of a three-way intersection last June.
After striking the duck, he said he slowed down and then drove away without stopping because he panicked.
'I was nervous. I didnít know what to do,' Linhares told the court.
But a woman shopper who saw the incident said the driver 'turned sharply' and accelerated towards the ducks.
The mother mallard had been nesting for at least five years in a retention pond in Dartmouth town centre, an animal control officer said.
Prosecutors had called for Linhares to spend a year in jail, but he was sentenced to 12 months probation.
The orphaned ducklings were temporarily adopted by a Westport family until they were released into the wild.
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