Black family terrorized by racist neighbor who allegedly stabbed their dog & made racist threats

A woman detailed the harassment her family received from their racist neighbor who allegedly went as far as stabbing their dog and warning them of the KKK in his efforts to intimidate them.

Indiana resident Dawn McDowell opened up to Yahoo Lifestyle about being terrorized by her neighbor, Richard Dean Wojtas for over a year. In her account, she says Wojtas stabbed her dog, used the N-word on her family repeatedly and told them the “KKK is coming.”


Singel mother McDowell moved into her Hammond home five years ago with her three children ages 17, 14, and 11 months. (Her 14-year old son has cerebral palsy and epilepsy.)

In August 2017, McDowell said Wojtas began his attacks on her family by making racist and physical threats. One night, she recalled him yelling at them from his parking lot, “‘I hate you [N-word], you gang bangers.” She called the police on him after he reappeared from his home with a brown paper bag.


Two months later, McDowell came home to the sight of her 5-year-old pit bull Sasha with a knife in her back in Wojta’s backyard. He claimed he stabbed it in self-defense after Sasha attacked one of his dogs. 

“Richard hit Sasha in the head with a hammer and stabbed her eight times, supposedly to save his dog,” she told Yahoo. 

Sasha survived the incident with physical injuries but McDowell was doubtful about the story Wojtas recounted. She did not think her dog was capable of aggressive behavior. In fact, it was Wojtas who told her in the past that his dogs had a tendency to be aggressive. He told her one of his dogs had attacked the other. 

Despite her doubts, McDowell became liable to the medical bills Wojtas asked her to pay for when he sued her in court after the incident. Wojtas demanded over $3K to cover the expenses for his dog’s wounds and an injury in his hand which he claims he sustained from intervening during the attack. McDowell, who countersued asking for $2,300 for the cost of Sasha’s surgery was ruled at fault – or her dog was according to the judge who reasoned that it was a pit bull.  


This was not the only incident when Wojtas threatened the life of McDowell’s dogs. Shortly after the stabbing incident and before they battled it in court, Wojtas brought out a loaded shotgun in his porch and threatened to use it on McDowell’s dog.

“He was yelling that he was going to kill my dog, so I took his photo and called the police,” she recalled. Wojtas was charged with felony intimidation by the Hammond Police Department and was ordered to avoid contact with McDowell’s family. 

But McDowell’s ordeal didn’t end there. Wojtas sought to garnish her wages which prompted her to file for bankruptcy. She also claimed Wojtas once yelled “Kill all the [N-word]” and “The KKK is coming,” sharing proof of it through a video she took of him spewing the statements. Moreover, she says Wojtas threw peach-colored paint on her red car. The police were able to track the paint to his home. 


Police are currently debating on whether additional charges will be made against Wojtas. Meanwhile, his lawyer defended his client by claiming he’s a “law abiding citizen” who “had every right to right to be outside and have a legally obtained shotgun, for which he has a valid license for.” He also claims the only reason his client had a feud with his neighbor was that her dog attacked him and his dog.  He also denies his client threatened McDowell with his gun. 


Despite the problems she’s been facing regarding her neighbor and the fear he has inflicted on her children,  McDowell refuses to leave her home. She recognizes the intimidation but she also knows it’s impractical for her to leave. 

“Why should I have to leave? I’m in a bad financial bind, in bankruptcy, and can’t afford a new roof.”


It is not uncommon for neighbors not to get along with one making life hell for the other. In fact, there have been several viral stories in the past about such neighbors. For instance, a couple from Argentina was surprised to learn that the series of robberies they’ve been experiencing in their home was caused by their neighbor. In Pennsylvania, a Black family sought the arrest of their neighbor, a White woman who defaced their home and wrote them a racist note while threatening their child. 

It’s unfortunate that there are some people who refuse to coexist with others for issues such as racial differences, something that should be a non-issue at this day and age. Unfortunately, there are still those who see race as a dividing factor and allow it to dictate their actions.

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