Laguna Beach man charged with animal cruelty after cat is beaten to death against car


A Laguna Beach man who police say beat a cat to death against the hood of a patrol vehicle was arrested early Sunday and later charged with animal cruelty, according to authorities.

After receiving reports of a man standing and screaming in the middle of the road, a Laguna Beach police officer arriving in the 400 block of Hill Street about 1:15 a.m. observed the man yelling and raising a cat into the air with his right hand, officials said.

The man ignored the officer’s commands and began approaching the officer while yelling unintelligibly, police said. The officer used his Taser, but it had no effect, police said.


After a second officer arrived, the man walked over to that officer’s car and began beating the cat against its hood, according to authorities. The man was hit with a Taser again and fell to the ground, police said.

Additional officers arrived, took the man into custody and collected the cat, which was dead, police said.

Joey Gabaldon, 52, was taken to Mission Hospital in Laguna Beach for medical clearance before being moved to the Orange County Jail. His bail was set at $20,000, jail records show.

Gabaldon was charged with one felony count each of cruelty to animals and resisting an executive officer and two misdemeanor counts each of resisting a public or peace officer and assaulting a peace officer or emergency personnel, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office.

Police were still trying to identify the cat’s owner, according to Laguna Beach police Sgt. Jim Cota.