Jury Orders Owners To Pay Neighbors $238,900 In Lawsuit Over Barking Dogs

John Updegraff and Karen Szewc have has been ordered to pay their neighbors for years of being annoyed by their barking dogs.

The Oregon couple’s neighbors, Dale and Debra Krein, filed suit in 2012 in Jackson County Circuit Court due to what they claimed was “ceaseless barking” by the dogs, according to the Mail Tribune. Two other neighbors also filed suit at the time, but were later dismissed as plaintiffs.

On April 2, 2015, a jury decided in favor of the Kreins, awarding them $238,900 in damages for what the Krieins say was more than a decade of listening to the dogs bark. The Kreins also sought to prevent Updegraff and Szewc from keeping any dogs on their property, but the court found against them in that injunction.

Updegraff and Szewc claim that the Tibetan mastiffs they owned were necessary to protect their livestock from predators, but the court found that the dogs were not suited to be livestock dogs, and in addition to awarding the Kreins a huge settlement, ordered that the dogs be debarked or replaced with a suitable breed within 60 days.

According to the Daily Mail, debarking is a surgical procedure that reduces tissue in the vocal cords, effectively lowering the volume of a dog’s bark.

The couple’s request to keep some of the dogs with their “bark intact” was denied.

According to Oregon Live, the couple moved into their home, 300 feet away from the Kreins’, around 1997, and started breeding the mastiffs around 2002. The Kreins complained that the dogs would began barking very early in the morning, and would bark throughout the day, and that the barking got worse after the couple began breeding the mastiffs.

Updegraff and Szewc were cited by Jackson County Animal Control in 2002 and 2004 for violating public nuisance codes, but the Kreins say that couple did nothing to try to quiet the dogs, even after being cited.

This isn’t the first time a dog owner has been ordered to pay for their annoying dog. In a similar Inquisitr story, a Seattle woman is in danger of losing her home after being sued by a neighbor for the “profound emotional distress” he suffered due to her dog’s barking. The neighbor was awarded $500,000 by the court, and a lien was placed on the woman’s home.

Do you think these people deserve that much money because of barking dogs? Or should the court have just ordered the owners to get rid of the animals?

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