In An Absolutely Cruel Move, Court Orders Couple to "De-Bark" Dogs' Vocal Cords

Innocence lacks a voice.

Trust us, we get it: Barking dogs are annoying. Just today, our barking Yorkshire Terrier gave us a migraine that only two Advil, twelve chocolate chip cookies, and a margarita could fix. But the thing is, we tolerate the barking for two reasons: Firstly, ain’t no serial killers going to get into our bedroom without our dog warning us first. And secondly, a dog is supposed to bark. It’s a freaking dog. If you don’t want to co-exist peacefully with barking dogs, then just catapult yourself into outer space.

The incredible Mr Gibbs is ready for a nap this morning...working hard on the local coyote pack early this am

A post shared by Liongate Farm, Karen Szewc (@liongatefarm) on

Apparently, this is not a legal solution for people annoyed by barking dogs. At least not in Oregon, where an appeals court recently ruled that a couple must surgically lacerate their dogs’ vocal cords.

The couple consists of Karen Szewc and John Updegraff, who began breeding Tibetan mastiffs in 2002. The majestic and fluffy dog, used by local tribes in Tibet to protect villagers and sheep from predators, is known for its loyalty—and its powerful warning bark.

The barking was just too much for Szewc and Updegraff's neighbors to bear. (These people live in the country. Imagine if they lived in New York, where our downstairs neighbors have three rescue dogs whose barks make the walls of our apartment shake?!) In any case, what is wrong with these people?!

In any case, first a jury in Oregon sided with them, and then, the appeals court did as well. In April 2015, a jury ordered Szewc and Updegraff to pay their neighbors $238,000 in damages, as well as to “de-bark” two of the mastiffs living on their property.  

When the couple refused, stating that the mastiffs were guarding the farm they were running on their 3.4-acre parcel of land, the case was taken to appeals. At the end of August, a three-judge panel of the Oregon Court of Appeals upheld the jury’s decision.

The procedure of “de-barking” is partially prohibited in six states, and for good reason—it is a cruel surgery that robs an animal of its ability to express himself in any way! A dog does not speak human language! It barks! And a dog without a bark cannot even protest!

In any case, we hope the neighbors in question live a long and peaceful life knowing that they have put adorable creatures through pain for a little peace and quiet. Was it worth it?, we want to ask them. Or could you maybe have just bought earplugs?

To argue our case, here are some pictures of the dogs at work from Karen Szewc’s Instagram:

Good morning from mr gibbs (aka crooked face) he keeps the coyotes away

A post shared by Liongate Farm, Karen Szewc (@liongatefarm) on

No sneaking up on them ..spoiled girls

A post shared by Liongate Farm, Karen Szewc (@liongatefarm) on

Mira is such a goof

A post shared by Liongate Farm, Karen Szewc (@liongatefarm) on

Always gotta check the water tank

A post shared by Liongate Farm, Karen Szewc (@liongatefarm) on

Kya has learned the jump gate and has found her favorite spot to watch her sheep

A post shared by Liongate Farm, Karen Szewc (@liongatefarm) on

Mira got a jump gate today

A post shared by Liongate Farm, Karen Szewc (@liongatefarm) on

Mira, patiently waiting for the last lambs to arrive from Corina

A post shared by Liongate Farm, Karen Szewc (@liongatefarm) on

Mira has to get in on everything

A post shared by Liongate Farm, Karen Szewc (@liongatefarm) on

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