On Thursday, the Acting Superintendent of Animal Control and Parks for Whiting, Indiana pleaded guilty to diverting prescription veterinary antibiotics to a Chicago resident, who was known to be involved in dog fighting activities. The drugs belonged to the city’s animal shelter. The guilty plea was announced by Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey H. Wood, Acting Attorney Clifford D. Johnson, and USDA OIG Special Agent-in-Charge Anthony V. Mohatt.
48-year-old Martin Jakubowski of Whiting, Indiana pleaded guilty before Judge John E. Martin to a single count of violating the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The defendant is scheduled to be sentenced on November 17, 2017. According to the defense’s admissions, he oversaw the operation of Whiting’s animal control program and animal shelter.
During his time in that position, Jakubowski provided prescription veterinary antibiotics to Pedro Cuellar for his dogs. Cuellar recently pleaded guilty to a federal dog fighting conspiracy charge in New Jersey. The drugs were purchased by the city’s animal shelter and were to be utilized to treat two sick shelter cats. Simultaneously, Jakubowski admitted to housing dogs for Cuellar in animal shelter buildings between 2011 and 2016. The dogs were kept in buildings used by the shelter for periods extending from three days to more than a year.
One of the dogs displayed scarring commonly found on dogs used in fights. The defendant also admitted to giving Cuellar two pit bull-type dogs from the city’s shelter. He did so without the proper paperwork and while knowing that Cuellar intended to transfer the dogs to others. Jakubowski also admitted to being involved in a “roll” dog fight in 2004. A “roll” dog fight is staged to assess the fighting abilities of a dog.
The case was a part of Operation Grand Champion, which is a coordinated effort to combat organized dog fighting. As a part of Operation Grand Champion, 98 dogs have been rescued, surrendered or forfeited to the government to date.