Outrage by dog lovers as court orders dogs’ ‘debarked’

Animal lovers are outraged after a Jackson County, Oregon court ordered a couple’s Tibetan mastiffs must be “debarked” – have their vocal chords surgically removed, due the noise the dogs have created for the neighbors because of their barking.

According to WsbtvNews, neighbors Debra and Dale Krein filed complaints against the dogs they claimed “barked uncontrollably for long periods of time while the defendants were away from the residence.” Karen Szewc and John Updegraff, the owners of the dogs, argued the six dogs that live on the farm are vital to the family business because the dogs barking scare off predators that can kill their livestock. The family and their dogs live on a 3.4 parcel of land with sheep, goats, chickens – all of which adds a small annual income.

“We do not have the dogs to harass the neighbors,” testified Szewc. “We have the dogs to protect our sheep.”

The barking started in 2002, but the Kreins did not sue their neighbors until ten years later. They told the court the barking would begin at 5:00 a.m. and continued for hours – even after Szewc and Updegraff left their home for the day. The Kreins were deprived of sleep, forced to turn the volume up on their television and stated their children didn’t want to come home from school. The family had audio recordings to prove their case.

In 2015, the Kreins were awarded $238,000 after they argued the barking had been disruptive to their lives. Even after the Kreins won their case, however they continued to argue that the judgment against the dog owners didn’t stop the dogs from barking in the future. Judge Timothy Gerking agreed and ordered the dogs be “debarked” surgically – devocalization involves cutting the vocal chords.

The Oregon Humane Society states it is inhumane and unnecessary to remove an animal’s primary means of communication. Six states have outlawed the procedure under certain circumstances. Supporters of the surgical operation state it can save dogs and cats with issues from being euthanized and still allows animals to express themselves with soft or muffled barks or meows.

Szewc said they had one of their dogs “debarked” in 2010, and the results were disastrous when one cougar ran off with six lambs in one week. The ruling was made by a three-judge panel of the Appeals Court. Read the opinion here.

Szewc is unsure how she will proceed – as whether or not to appeal the decision.

(Photos via Facebook)

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30 replies
  1. Cynthia Como says:

    This is obscene! Now only is it very cruel it should be an outlawed procedure right along with ear cropping and declawing of cats!!! Debarking a dog is animal cruelty and last I checked animal cruelty is against the law! I find this absolutely outrageous!

    Reply
  2. susan froman says:

    As a dog lover this is “BS”.
    Could the dog owner have the courts order to have this ASSHAT nieghbor have their vocal cords removed so they have to hear them bitch.
    Even better just move away you won a judgement of $238,000….that would buy a nice house else where.

    Reply
    • ellen cottone says:

      Why do they have to move.
      Why can’t the dog owner shut his dog up . Its against the law to disturb the peace.
      Do you really think a family has to move because a dog won’t shut up. Your insane

      Reply
  3. JOSEPHINE FRAZIER says:

    This is such a bunch of crap! This is inhumane, and against the law we need to create a petition for this to not be allowed! The farm owner needs to do the petition asap, and rally and let’s speak for the voiceless. Who is this judge, do we know? To make sure no one votes for him for next election, and reach out to the media to have this case heard
    This is totally bunch of crap!

    Reply
  4. Debbie Gilliam says:

    This practice must be stopped….to remove a dogs vocal cords so they can’t bark, removes the only way they can protect themselves and the families & livestock they protect. Please do not subject these precious dogs to ”this practice. It is inhumane and the neighbors should be ashamed of themselves for wanting the dogs to go thru the surgery not to mention, the sheep who were killed.

    Reply
      • ellen cottone says:

        But Audrey these dog’s were barking not from warning of danger. Dog’s who are nuisance backers as in this case are dog’s that just perfect to be inside with the family. Inexcusable.
        And isn’t this specifically the case here. That an innocent family is being hounded?
        Most chronic unessarily backers don’t need to warn the master that a squirly farted in the next yard.
        And a the farmers living about 6 livestock disappearing that s bull shit all a prehistory animal like a coyote has to do is smell a dog. He’ll think twice.
        The farmer was harassing the family.
        You better believe he was

      • audrey says:

        ellen, sorry. I should have made my comment clearer. I was commenting about barking in general. This situation is totally off the charts.

      • ellen cottone says:

        Its true audrey i love dogs and a barking dog is an unhappy one.I also lived next door to a dog that barked from 5am on none stop and the owner was a mean cop who terrorized us all with his barking dog. it was hell. im still resentful from the ugliness im still traumatized. it was awful

  5. susispot says:

    I lived next door to a dog that bark 24/7. I mean non stop all day and all night, for years!!!. It is insane. They never took the dog inside. They must have been deaf. I would get up out of bed (at 1, 2 or 3 am) and scream across my acre to “SHUT UP!” The dog would stop for about 10 mins. Then right back at it. If you ever live next door to a dog that barks like that, you will gain a whole new perspective on what these people have been living with for over 10 YEARS. And it is multiple dogs! Should the Szewcs debark their dogs? NO! They should move. They need to be away from neighbors or it will be the same with the next ones. If they really love their dogs, they will do what they need to do to keep them safe and vocal.

    Reply
  6. ellen cottone says:

    Bottom line.
    No body wants to hear anybody’s fuc*in dog barking and I’m sure it was constant and for 10 miserable years all parties suffered .
    And don’t pretend you could or would be ok with it.
    The kids don’t want to come home that is some statement . Life in he’ll. I thought the practice was out lawed. But regardless it’s against the law for a do to bark non stop. There are anti bark collors . It seems like other alternatives were not explored. Like a muzzle. Because the dog owners just didnt care to stop the abusive unnessary barking. Its the dog owners who are at fault. Dont get caught up in your own stupid.anyone of you here would hate the barking if it eas you and your family Its against the law to disturbing the peace. Its anyone of you people who are siding with the dog owner are not being truthful.you would hate it.

    You would think differentially if it was you and your family who dreaded life at home because a dog owner will not or could not keep the peace.
    Peace and quite are a right.
    Keep your dog from unessary barking.
    Be considerate to your neighbors.
    Who cares about what acrege the dogs are on . Honestly. You people can be really crazy sometimes. Get off the other family’s case with your stupid comments.
    They are the victims here and I’m glad they have won their freedom

    Reply
    • Nancy Raymond says:

      You’d think an aware of over $200,000 would have been an incentive to soundproof your house or move if the dogs are so disruptive to your peace and quiet. They sure had the money to do either.

      Reply
      • ellen cottone says:

        Bottom line,
        humans and dog’s deserve peace. When a dog needs rest he also is miserable when disturbed.
        People and animals need peace and quite in a home to thrive.
        Dog owners are at fault because the dog’s are the alphas and do not have respect to the master.
        The dog owners are the menace because can’t or won’t control the destructive behaviors. They are neighbors there should be peace and harmony that includes animals.
        Nobody wins here. But now the silence is defening.

      • ellen cottone says:

        Just so I understand.
        They should soundproof a home or move!?
        Because you think they “sure” had the money.
        And their 10yrs of being brutly assaulted by unessary uncontrollable barking with in the very walls of their own homes is justified because you think they have the money!?
        You put a family’s well being a family who’s children dread coming home because of the abuse from an unkind neighbor
        Nancy you are ludicrous, and an unsympathetic person. You are the exact reason this judge chose to cut thru everybody’s bull shit and get to the real problem.
        Silence! Is the solution. All people involved except the victim family are responsible for the surgically solution.
        The judge is brilliant.
        And you Nancy are a selfish and ignorant human being . I’m truly embarrassed for you. Please don’t embarasse your self by sharing.

    • Pamela says:

      Ellen, calm down, we don’t need name calling here. I imagine the truth of this case is somewhere between both parties, I’m sure the dogs did not bark non-stop and possibly the owners thought the neighbors were ok with the dogs since it took them supposedly 10 years to do anything. Peace and quiet are NOT a right although both parties should be able to come to a meeting of the minds how to please both sides. Also it was said that a cougar got the lambs, NOT a coyote. Please be kind.

      Reply
      • ellen cottone says:

        Pamela,
        peace and quite are a god given right and has always been against the law. the proof is in the settlement awarded to the victims. its a crime . also dont believe the farmer he lies. the dogs were still on guard these are outside dogs these arent pets there slaves. just because a dog cant bark doesn’t mean he aint a sheep dog. cougars dont come anywhere near dogs on duty the smell alone will keep a cougar at bay. a cougar could not possible drag a sheep back up to where he feel safe enough to eat.
        what your saying is the dog couldnt bark and just sat there while the couger shopped for dinner.
        its a cougar those are Pyrenees there bigger they would kick the cougers ass. they dont need to bark

  7. Nancy Raymond says:

    This is blatant animal cruelty. These people were awarded a huge amount of money due their ‘distress’ over the barking – they should have soundproofed their home or buy a new one – they sure had the funds to do this. Yet some idiot judge decided that it is appropriate to justify animal abuse. I hope the dog owners appeal this idiot decision. The dogs are the real victims here.

    Reply
    • ellen cottone says:

      The dog owners are the losers Nancy. They were always the losers. And your a looser because you don’t know wrong from right. The dog owners can’t appeal because they are criminal.
      Stupid lady

      Reply
  8. Tracy Whitcomb says:

    THIS IS HORRIBLE!!!! I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT THEY HAVE APPROVED THIS!!!!! THEY NEED TO HAVE THEIR OWN VOCAL CORDS REMOVED!!!!! THIS HAS GOT TO STOP!!!!

    Reply
  9. Allan says:

    I’m in a quandary with this issue. Although I disagree with “debarking” the owner’s could have used other methods to protect their livestock. Perhaps sensor lighting, an alarm system and better fencing. They were forced to pay the victims $238,000. They could have used that money to make improvements for protection of their livestock. It’s a bad situation for both parties. I’ve lived next door to dogs who have barked excessively 24/7. It’s no picnic.

    Reply
  10. Sherry D Hadley says:

    They received $240,000 in damages, which is quite a bit of money to compensate them for their suffering; but I don’t understand why they waited TEN years to sue if they were that disturbed. I guess I should read up on the case because I am curious to know if they complained and how their complaints were addressed. I think there should be something other than the debarking here, as the side effects are often horrible; such as gasping for air to take each breath for some. Why can’t these people bring their animals inside for certain hours or something…There has to be a better way ….and I wonder if their dogs were so disruptive, did it not keep they them awake all hours as well. Think I’m missing some info on case I’d like to read before I make any more opinions on it. But hate debarking idea.

    Reply
    • ellen cottone says:

      because it took 10 yrs for somebody to listen.
      they are gentle people, good neighbors who have been under attack. they tried for 10 yrs to reason with the farmer and decency got them nowhere . Thats a crime. a real crime.

      Reply
      • Ilona Brost says:

        Ellen, it is also fun to read your comments. I usually agree with you min 99% of the time. Not on this one though. “Peace and quiet are NOT a right ” , quote Pamela, even though they are “God given right”, quote Ellen. You remember where Jesus ended up with God given issues. Heck with God after all we are going to make America great again and it ain’t’ no place for “gentle people”.
        Kreins got $238,000. Sure they DO NOT have to move but would be smart of them to use these money for moving out and check on neighbors before buying new place. Because in this situation somebody will end up being shot.

      • ellen cottone says:

        Oh IIona Brost!!
        im so glad you get my crazy and can see it is almost well 99% of the time its really coming from a gentle place.
        but i do feel loved and appreciated by everyone here especially my frienemies.
        whats life with out those.
        but,
        i do believe in peace on earth. and it is part of the 10 commandments. thou shall not be be a jerk to each other. its why jusus came down in the first time.
        and look how far weve come.
        but one thing is for sure….
        America is no place for the faint of heart and were all wedged in pretty tight and we all like to get on each others nerves.

        America, no place else id rather be.
        it was always great and will always be.

        down with the king!!

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