Local News

Durham County man charged with 61 counts of animal cruelty

Posted March 19, 2015

Hector Balaga

— A Durham County man was charged with 61 counts of cruelty to animals Wednesday after authorities seized dozens of sick cats from his home over the last two months.

Hector Balaga, of 301 Bill Poole Road in Rougemont, was jailed under a $50,000 secured bond.

Authorities say Balaga was housing dozens of sick cats in small wire cages under a carport structure and in a shed outside his home.

Balaga voluntarily surrendered five cats on Jan. 22 and four more on Jan. 26, authorities said. Authorities seized another 52 cats on Jan. 30.

All of the cats were suffering from illness, including respiratory infections, ulcers, scarring of corneas, scarring of lungs, runny eyes and feline immunodeficiency virus.

The majority of the cats were euthanized, Durham County authorities said.


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  • Beth Pearce Mar 19, 2015
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    They euthanized the WRONG animal!

    (Strawberry Letter 23)

  • Nicolle Leney Mar 19, 2015
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    The hoarders that end up letting things get "out of hand" don't tend to stick their animals in small wire cages and leave them outside (at least it was covered, but still horrible). I think that's one big reason they charged him, while there have been other hoarding situations, even with sick animals, where they don't charge the person.

    That being said, I agree with you that the Chinese restaurant, etc comments are uncalled for. It still could have been a hoarding situation; it could have been breeding. On the more sinister end, it could have been bait animals for dog fighting. :(

  • Barbara Sheppard Mar 19, 2015
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    You want to know why he is being treated with ugliness?? Because ugly doesn't begin to describe what he did to these cats. Even if he did start out with good intentions there is no excuse in letting it get out of hand like this. Plain and simple cruelty, no matter how you look at it. Could have been avoided and those cats may have had a chance at a good home.

  • Anne Havisham Mar 19, 2015
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    Any other racist stereotypes that need to be perpetuated?

    This man may or may not be a hoarder. If he is, then he started with the best of intentions and got overwhelmed.

    I don't know why he's being treated with such ugliness here---oh, wait, I do: some people feel free to say horrible things online that they would never say to a person's face.

  • Edward Anderson Mar 19, 2015
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  • Proudly Unaffiliated Mar 19, 2015
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    Geez, as awful as this is -- we know worse things happen -- but this one is really, really weird. What was going through this guy's mind?

  • Fred Garner Mar 19, 2015
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  • Pete Knowles Mar 19, 2015
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    Euthanize him while you're at it.

  • Ginger Lynn Mar 19, 2015
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    Usually it's a crazy cat-LADY!