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


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

Laguna Beach police responded to the 400 block of Hill Street at about 1:15 a.m. after receiving reports that a man was screaming and yelling in the middle of the road. The first officer on the scene saw a man yelling while raising a cat into the air with his right hand, police said.

The man ignored the officer’s commands and began approaching 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 a suspect 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 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.

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2:23 p.m. Oct. 22, 2019: This article was originally published at 10:58 a.m. and has been updated with additional information.