Parks Director Who Provided Shelter Pets for Dog Fights Allowed to Keep His Job

Among the duties Martin Jakubowski performed as the parks director for Whiting, Ind., was overseeing the operations at the city’s animal shelter.

At the same time, Jakubowski was involved in another disgusting operation: helping Pedro Cuellar of Illinois, who recently pleaded guilty to a dog fighting conspiracy charge.

From 2011 to 2016, Jakubowski housed dogs for Cuellar in buildings used by the Whiting animal shelter. The length of the dogs’ stays there ranged from a few days to over a year. According to the United States Department of Justice, one of those dogs had scars consistent with those on dogs used in fights.

But that’s not all. Jakubowski also provided Cuellar with two pit bull-type dogs from the city’s shelter, knowing full well they would be used in fights. Cuellar didn’t complete any adoption paperwork or pay any fee for the two dogs.

Jakubowski also stole antibiotics, which the city had purchased with the intention of treating two sick shelter cats, and gave them to Cuellar.

Wait, there’s more: Jakubowski was involved in a “roll” dog fight in 2004. This type of fight is staged to assess the fighting abilities of dogs.

Jakubowski pleaded guilty Aug. 24 to a misdemeanor charge of diverting prescription veterinary antibiotics that were the property of the city’s animal shelter. He also admitted to assisting Cuellar in all those other terrible ways.

“This prosecution further demonstrates our commitment to end unlawful animal fighting and to bring to justice those who unlawfully participate in this criminality,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey H. Wood of the U.S. Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

The case was part of Operation Grand Champion, an effort by numerous federal judicial districts to combat organized dog fighting. (“Grand Champion” is a term dog fighters use for a dog with more than five “victories.”) Nearly 100 dogs have been rescued as part of Operation Grand Champion.

So, you’d think that Jakubowski would promptly be fired from his $73,492-a-year position as the city’s parks director, right?

Wrong. Whiting Mayor Joseph Stahura allowed Jakubowski to keep his job.

“Not everyone will agree with that decision, but no one knows how much this man cares about that shelter more than I do,” Stahura said, according to the Northwest Indiana Times. “Marty has done a million good things for the animals of the community and he made one stupid mistake.”

It’s really difficult to understand how this man who cares so much about an animal shelter would be so willing to use that shelter to help someone involved in the horribly cruel “sport” of dog fighting, which, incidentally, is a felony offense in all 50 U.S. states. And Jakubowski himself admitted to making more than one “stupid mistake.”

Not surprisingly, Stahura received over 300 complaints regarding his decision to allow Jakubowski to keep his job.

Fortunately, the dogs at the Whiting animal shelter are safe for now. Jakubowski resigned from his animal control position Aug. 25 and resigned as parks director two days later.

“Knowing what I now know today and following a lengthy discussion with the employee, we both agree that Mr. Jakubowski’s immediate resignation from all duties and responsibilities with the city of Whiting is in the best interest of both the city and the animal shelter,” Stahura said in a statement.

The mayor said that to prevent something like this from happening again, he would request a full operational review of the animal shelter by a third-party organization to ensure industry-wide standards are being met.

Jakubowski will be sentenced in November. His maximum punishment will be just three months of home confinement and then six months of supervised probation. At least Cuellar, the dog fighter he helped, is facing more than what basically amounts to a slap on the wrist. He could be spending up to five years in prison and paying a $250,000 fine. Here’s hoping they both get the maximum sentence.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons


liliana f
liliana fyesterday


Linda Todd
Linda Todd3 days ago

This man is guilty as sin. He needs an appropriate punishment. Perhaps he could be incarcerated, and forced repeatedly to defend himself barehanded against all comers. Oh, and people are allowed to watch, and bet on his karmic reward.

bob P
bob Petermann5 days ago

They need to strengthen or update animal abuse laws

Jennifer H
Jennifer H5 days ago

“Not everyone will agree with that decision, but no one knows how much this man cares about that shelter more than I do,” Stahura said, ". HUH? How can a person do this and "care". Money had to have been flowing from somewhere.

Georgina Burns
Georgina Burns8 days ago

The Mayor is either corrupt or he needs a Lobotomy. Any one involved in dog fighting deserves total & utter destruction of their existence --- their despicable behaviour exemplifies the absolute worst of humanity.

Ch Bradley
Ch B8 days ago

This is not only an affront to logic, but to all we hold dear as animal protectors. This is not "one stupid mistake". If a person in charge of children allowed them to be sent out to child molesters for a fee, would this be "one stupid mistake" as well? This was purely an evil action and dogs were sent to torture and no doubt doom because of this one person, who was responsible for their welfare, instead of caring for those in his charged, engaged in a vicious, illegal activity involving those. Both the perpetrator and the mayor should be sent to jail for a very long time where, we can hope, their jailers do not commit "one stupid mistake" and sell them into slavery or some such thing.

Cristen McConville

He cares about the shelter ~ BAHAHAHAHA!!! What a joke!!!! Looks like the mayor needs to go also!!!

Cruel J
Cruel Justice9 days ago

A "stupid mistake"???? This was NO mistake, it was an egregious misuse of power by a man who OBVIOUSLY hates animals. NO justice AGAIN.

Beth M
Beth M9 days ago

Is there a petition to make sure he gets the maximum punishment (time in jail)?

Estelle Oelofsen

'We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals' Immanuel Kant
Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow-creatures is amusing in itself."
--James A. Froude, British historian