Dogfighting Animal Control Director Resigns From All City Employment

“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.” Whiting Mayor Joseph Stahura


August 27, 2017-Whiting, Indiana Mayor Joseph Stahura issued a statement via social media at approximately 2:00 p.m. today accepting the resignation of Whiting Parks Director Martin Jakubowski. The Mayor and Jakubowski became embroiled in a firestorm of social media contempt after what the Mayor referred to as “an extremely misleading headline” posted by a local media source. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Our headline was copied from the US Dept. of Justice Press Release). Stahura stated “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.” The Mayor also says he will order a “full operational review of the Shelter by a third party organization.”

Jakubowski served as Director of Parks and Recreation as well as Director of Animal Control. He was also on the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee. He was convicted of misdemeanor diverting prescription veterinary antibiotics. In the plea agreement, however, Jakubowski admits to engaging in a “roll” fight as well as sheltering dogs and providing two dogs to individuals involved in a nationwide dog fighting ring. You can see the full statement which he signed in Federal Court, above.

See the Mayor’s full statement below:

 

Let me start by saying that I regret having one of my actions or in this case inactions damage the fine City of Whiting’s reputation. I truly appreciate the few kind words that were posted in the last few days and I still don’t know how to react to the others. Below is a follow-up statement that will likely make some people happy, but I know will never satisfy the people who don’t really care to understand the entire situation:

This past Friday, the Department of Justice issued a press release related to one of the city’s employees who plead guilty to a misdemeanor related to his role in aiding a person who engaged in dog-fighting. When the press release was issued, I was out of the office on business. In route home, I received dozens of calls from the media and others demanding my position on the future employment of the employee. Without the benefit of having the details of the plea agreement or the case, I repeatedly made the statement that I didn’t think the charges warranted his termination. Up until that point, I was only broadly aware of the circumstances based on prior discussions held with the employee, but I was waiting for the court’s action before officially reacting. When I arrived at the office, I then discovered that one of our local newspapers had posted an extremely misleading headline to its online story that created a firestorm of responses that were irrational, misguided and grossly misinformed. This firestorm, resulted in my issuance of a statement in attempt to provide clarity to the situation, but the reaction was already out of control. In the social media posts, emails and phone messages that I received or read, 9 out of 10 people were led to believe that dog-fights were staged at the shelter or the employee was personally engaged in staging dog-fights. Sadly, many others have fabricated even more erroneous stories that were a gross exaggeration of the facts. None of the above referenced accusations ever occurred.

It is extremely important to understand that I do not and have never condoned these actions and do not and will never take these issues lightly. Those that know me are aware that I personally modified our practices to ensure that our shelter operated as a no-kill facility and along with my staff worked extremely hard to fund and to build a new sorely needed animal shelter for our city.

Nothing I can say about the employee will ever erase the things he did. He made a series of terrible mistakes that he will regret for the rest of his life. In situations like this, the easy action would have been for me to immediately terminate him. Simply wash my hands of a controversial situation. In a situation that triggers this much emotion and passion, it is very easy to make a decision that will be regretted. So I chose to pause until I had the chance to speak to people about the case, review the available information and to be sure I made the right decision. This was clearly articulated in my first statement.

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.

In an effort to protect the operation of the Animal Shelter and in attempt to prevent any incident of this nature from happening again, I will request a full operational review of the Shelter by a third party organization. All forms, policies and procedures will be reviewed to ensure industry-wide standards are being met.

I need to conclude with these comments. In today’s world of discontent and lack of civility I am amazed at the anger displayed by people who had little or no detailed knowledge of this issue. I’m not talking about compassionate and rational disagreement I’m talking about vicious banter and death threats. You may feel that you have the right to engage in that level of attack, but I disagree.

Mayor Joe Stahura

Comments

  1. Marie Siroky Reply

    Please change background.. article not visible on colored background

  2. Linda Szymoniak Reply

    I understand that Mr. Jakubowski is married to the mayor’s daughter. Any background on this?

    • kendavidson Reply

      That is a rumor that is circulating on social media. Our sources say it is false.

  3. Arleen Reply

    After pleading guilty Will the tax payers of Whiting provide Mr Jakubowski a pension? Since technically he wasn’t terminated by the mayor per the memo, but resigned on his own.

  4. Arleen Smagacz Reply

    Will Mr. Jakubowski receive a pension from the City of Whiting? Since he technically was not fired , but resigned for pleading guilty in a court of law!!

  5. Darci Teafoe Reply

    OMG this cruel and Psycho man who INTENTIONALLY hurt animals and helped many to die in dog fighting has the nerve to say we dont have the right to be so angry and defends his thought process and actions to this !!! What kind of evil is he !!!!! Really MR if this were one of your children and their killer/abuser defended themselves saying you just dont know the whole story….How would you react or feel !!!! DUH !!!!! You are evil !!! Animals have no voice and trusted you !!!!!!! SCUMBAG !!!!!!

  6. Dorothy Meyer Reply

    People care to know…what is the entire situation then Mayor? All we have is the statement which says he was involved. Isn’t that enough for the city to never employ someone who has committed a crime with taxpayers dollars? I’m sure enquiring minds would love the full story if there is one. We’ve all been waiting…

  7. Diane Bender Reply

    So the “roll” was stopped before “serious damage” was done?!!! I wonder how the poor dogs felt about that? He has to know what dog fighting does and he also has to know it is horrendous and WRONG! You cannot paint this as an error in judgement.

  8. Mario Lopez Reply

    Misleading headline

  9. D. Schau Reply

    Some very valid questions are being asked:
    Pension eligibility?
    What IS the entire situation mayor? (probably hasn’t been dreamed up yet).
    My opinion is the mayor is trying to cover up this disgusting issue and shaking his finger at those whom are outraged. Typical diversionary blame game tactics of a politician that is afraid of being busted and losing his job.
    Jakubowski has been involved in animal abuse for years according to his own admission and Mr. Stahura has to audacity defend those actions.
    The following is a quote taken from NWI Times 8/25/17 from the good mayor before he realized the outrage it would cause: “This does not lessen the seriousness of the situation, but it is critical to know that the Whiting Animal Shelter has done enormous good under Marty’s guidance and while he made a series of serious mistakes, this was not widespread normal activity.”
    Do you consider Jakubowski also admitting that between 2011 and 2016, he housed dogs for Cuellar at the city animal shelter buildings for up to a year not widespread activity? One of the dogs had scarring consistent with scars on dogs used in fights.
    I think you, Mr. Stahura, also need to go.

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