- Category: Volume 86 (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)
- Published: 10 September 2014
- Written by BRENDAN GREVE STAFF WRITERIMAGE
Frank Balun, who was a resident of Hillside, NJ, was an aerial gunner in World War II. He actually survived his plane getting shot down in battle. He has received multiple metals for his service and is a war hero. However, if you googled his name the first thing that would come up would be "the Rat Slayer." The decorated World War II veteran will go down in history as the infamous "Rat Slayer."
So how did this happen? Well 20 years ago. Balun was tending to his garden and noticed a rat was poking around. So he killed it.Well he wound up getting charged for it and wound up on the cover of the New York Times and other newspapers as well. He was faced with id="mce_marker",250 in fines and could've spent a possibility of six months in jail.
The fight against Balun was led by the Humane Society which was led by Lee Bernstein at the time. Bernstein's overreaction and strict policy on animal cruelty only made things worse. According to a Star Ledger article, Bernstein had his lawn littered with muskrat and chicken parts. At one point someone actually nailed a rodent to a cross with a tomato in its mouth and put it on Bernstein's lawn. So if Bernstein's goal was to prevent animal cruelty, it didn't work out that well. Angelo Bonanno, a former administrator for the Hillside Health Department, said, "We encourage people to kill rats because they carry disease."
Eventually, Balun's charges were dropped. However, the reputation of a decorated war hero was defamed and additional animal cruelty was the result.
IMAGE TAKEN FROM OF NJ.COM