Court Rules Oregon Couple Must Surgically Remove Dogs Vocal Cords to Stop Barking

September 1, 2017 Updated: September 1, 2017

A court ruled on Wednesday, Aug. 30, that an Oregon couple must stop their six loud dogs from barking by having their pets vocal cords surgically removed.  

“We are just shocked,” David Lytle, a spokesman for the Oregon Humane Society told The Oregonian. He said his organizations have already pushed for a bill to outlaw any debarking operations but it failed years ago.

The whole dispute started almost 20 years ago. The neighbors who endured the dog’s constant barking from next door said the lawsuit only began as a last resort. 

Those neighbors, Debra and Dake Krein said they have endured the barking of six or more Tibetan and Pyrenean mastiffs owned by the family next door since 2002, according to a court summary of the case obtained by The Oregonian. 

The Oregon Court of Appeals ruled that the “debarking surgery” is an appropriate means to end the noise problem that the Kreins have faced on their rural property in Grants Pass, an Oregon city, The Oregonian reported. 

But these debarking surgeries are highly controversial and humane groups have often spoken out about them in the past. As of now, six states have already outlawed the practice under certain circumstances. 

The debarking surgery cuts the vocal cords of the dog so even if their mouths still form a bark—no noise will come out, especially if a major portion of the vocal chords is removed. People opposing this procedure say it is unethical to remove a dog or cat’s means of communication while also being a cruel and unneeded procedure, according to The Oregonian. 

If done properly, however, it can help problematic pets from being euthanized and may enable them to express a softer bark or a muffled bark. 

The Oregon court ruling is a rare occurrence since most dog disputes are resolved before the case proceeds further in court. 

Back in April 2015 after a four-day trial in Jackson County Circuit Court, the jury ruled that the dog owners had to pay the Kreins $238,000, The Oregonian reported.