You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Police and fire


Police claim fiancÚ killed family pets

Children witnessed alleged cruelty

Austin J. Witek

They were fighting, as they had done in the past.

The woman told her fiancé to leave the home so he could calm down – that just made him angrier.

So the woman told him she'd just take the kids and leave for the night – and that's when he flew off the handle.

In front of his children, Austin J. Witek is accused of grabbing the family's pet rabbit, throwing it on the ground and stomping it to death.

He's also accused of smashing in a fish tank and trying to stomp the family's fish to death as well.

By the time Fort Wayne police officers arrived at the 25-year-old's home in the 1300 block of High Street on Friday afternoon, they were greeted by distraught children, a scared woman and a combination of rabbit and fish corpses.

"He killed my bunny!" one of the children screamed at officers, according to a Fort Wayne Police Department report.

Witek's fiancé told officers the couple were fighting and that at one point she said she'd take the children so "he can be at home with the animals," according to the police report.

Witek, with the couple's children looking on, grabbed the rabbit, threw it to the floor and began stomping the animal.

Immediately afterward, he used a liquor bottle in his hand to shatter a fish tank, spilling gallons of water on the floor.

Animal Care & Control eventually arrived and were able to save some of the fish, according to a police report.

Witek's fiancé also accused him of trying to keep her from calling police by taking a phone out of her hand, the report said.

When talking with officers, Witek admitted he "snapped" and shouldn't have done what he did, according to the police report.

Officers took photos of the home, which they described as dirty with rabbit droppings as well as "cluttered" and "very messy."

Witek was taken to Allen County Jail and preliminarily charged with a felony count of animal cruelty and a misdemeanor count of interfering with the reporting of a crime.

He was ordered to have no contact with his fiancée upon his release, court records said.