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


Melania P
Melania P5 days ago

Shameful! Thanks for posting

Michelle Spradley
Michelle Spradley1 months ago

Sounds to me like a mayor who has been enjoying kickbacks from the dogfighting profits just like his parks director friend. They both should be booted out and replaced with people who actually care about the animals.

Glennis W
Glennis W2 months ago

Despicable and cruel Mongeral Thank you for caring and sharing

Glennis W
Glennis W2 months ago

Deplorable and sickening Thank you for caring and sharing

Glennis W
Glennis W2 months ago

Cruel corrupt Bastard. Thank you for caring and sharing

michelle t
michelle t2 months ago

Stupid corrupt Mayor.This dog abusing POS and the incompetent,pathetic.corrupt,uneducated Mayor must have the death penalty implemented I am ready,willing and able to help implement this required procedure to all animal abusing POS.

Mary Furlong
Mary Furlong3 months ago

PUHLEEZE! Mayor Joseph Stahura must think his constituents are idiots. There's a huge difference between a mistake and someone deliberately abusing a position of power and trust.

Naomi Dreyer
Naomi D3 months ago

Justice is very important.

liliana f
liliana f3 months ago


Linda Todd
Past Member 3 months 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.