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Court orders couple to cut their dogs’ vocal cords to stop their ‘incessant barking’

An Oregon appeals court ordered Wednesday that a couple’s loud dogs must undergo “debarking,” a controversial medical procedure that entails cutting a canine’s vocal cords, according to The Washington Post.

The Oregonian reports that Debra and Dale Krein sued neighbors Karen Szewc and John Updegraff in 2012 after being fed up with the noises made by their many Tibetan and Pyrenean Mastiffs. The Kreins claimed they endured the nuisance for a decade before filing a lawsuit, court papers detail.

The Kreins claimed the canines’ barking would begin as early as 5 a.m. and would continue throughout the day. The pair were also fined in 2004 and 2005 for “allowing two of her dogs to bark frequently and at length.”

The defendants say they took several measures, including using shock collars, to handle the noise dilemma with no success. Szewc also argued that the stipulations didn’t apply to her because she ran a farm on her 3.4-acre property. Farms abide by different statutes, The Washington Post notes.

Posted by Karen Szewc on Thursday, August 31, 2017

Rejecting their claims, a jury ruled in 2015 that Szewc and Updegraff must pay the Kreins $238,000 and have their dogs undergo debarking. Wednesday’s ruling, which can be read in full below, upheld the lower court’s order.

Also called devocalization, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation describes debarking as a surgical procedure where part or all of a dog’s vocal cords are severed. The result is the lowering—or elimination—of a dog’s bark.

The Oregonian notes that the procedure is considered cruel by numerous critics, with six states outlawing debarking under certain conditions.

Szewc said that debarking her dogs will put her Rouge River farm in jeopardy.

“The dogs are my employees,” she explained to the local paper. “We do not have the dogs to harass the neighbors. We have the dogs to protect our sheep.”

Szewc also claimed that she had one dog debarked in 2010, which led to a cougar taking off with six lambs in a week. She said she is unsure whether she’ll appeal the latest ruling.

[Featured Image: Facebook/Karen Szewc]