Mayor Stahura Statement • Animal Shelter Employee Case
Friday, August 25, 2017
To: To Whom It May Concern
Re: Whiting Animal Shelter
By now everyone is aware that City of Whiting Parks Superintendent and Animal Control Officer Marty Jakubowski has been involved in an investigation related to the Animal Shelter. While I certainly do not take this lightly and I am keenly aware of the seriousness of the issue, I kindly ask everyone to stay calm until I can get all of the facts from the case investigator. Here are some important facts related to the issue that have not been widely publicized that I feel the public should know. First, Marty has resigned his position of Animal Control Director and will no longer be involved in any decision related to the facility and will no longer be compensated for those responsibilities. Secondly, policies and procedures were enacted to address the shortcomings that were identified in the initial investigation. Most importantly, these charges that have been made are not systemic or widespread. 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.
When the smoke clears, I will talk more about the actual charges. The initial barrage of news reports varied from wildly inaccurate to selectively sensational. Some reporters simply look for the big headline and bypass good solid reporting. Let me be clear, I’m not condoning what Marty did, but only exaggerating the negative and totally ignoring the positive is simply bad reporting. At least one reporter questioned me in a manner that suggested that dog-fighting was being staged at the shelter, which is totally untrue and grossly misleading.
Mr. Jakubowski has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges and will not only face the penalties of the court, but will also face discipline from the City in the form of a suspension yet to be determined. I have made the decision that while I am indeed disappointed in Marty’s actions, that this situation does not warrant his termination. Not everyone will agree with that decision, but no one knows how much this man cares about that Shelter more than I do.
I will end with this; Mr. Jakubowski has worked countless hours to shelter 1000’s of animals, raise funds for their well-being and help pet owners who were in dire need for more than a decade. He and his staff have established programs to aid the shelter and he personally led the campaign for the construction of the new Animal Shelter building. He clearly made multiple mistakes that he wishes he could take back. But at the end of the day, his positive actions and long track record warrant consideration.
-Mayor Joe Stahura