The dispute began 15 years ago when the couple began breeding mastiff dogs to guard their sheep from potential predators.
The barking was annoying to the neighbors and back in 2004 the couple had the county's first citation for violating a public nuisance code "allowing two of their dogs to bark frequently and extensively."
Szwec defended himself arguing that the regulation did not apply to farms since many other animals live there.
This reasoning was not sufficient for the Jackson County Circuit Court which rejected the argument, claiming that the property was not a farm. The court ordered Swec to pay $ 400 and move the mastiffs to another area, but this order was not followed.
In 2012, a new lawsuit claimed that the measures adopted were insufficient and that the number of mastiffs was at least 6, the barking had multiplied, they were uncontrolled and at dawn hours. Eventually, a class action lawsuit was filed against the herding dogs.
In April 2015, a jury ordered Szewc and Updegraff to pay $ 238,000 in damages to the plaintiffs. At the same time, Judge Timothy Gerking ruled that the dogs should be transferred, as their owners had not taken any action against barking such as shock collars.
Finally, a few days ago three judges of the Oregon Court of Appeals made the decision to operate on the dogs to remove their vocal cords, after confirming that the owners were not managing a farm. Karen and John will have to pay for the surgery.
The case has divided public opinion and, of course, there is no lack of reactions from animal rights defenders to such a drastic decision by justice. After all it will be the dogs who suffer the consequences without being aware of the conflicts between neighbors and what their natural instinctual response is causing.
With information from: