$200,000 awarded in dog-barking case

A Rogue River couple whose neighbors sued them over the barking of their dogs will have to pay more than $200,000 in damages and have all of their Tibetan mastiffs debarked.

According to court records, a Jackson County jury April 2 found in favor of plaintiffs Dale and Debra Krein, who had filed suit in 2012 in Jackson County Circuit Court along with two other neighbors who were later dismissed as plaintiffs. The jury awarded the Kreins $238,900 in damages for what they described as more than a decade of ceaseless barking by the giant dogs, which defendants John Updegraff and Karen Szewc said were necessary to protect their livestock from predators.

The Kreins had also sought an injunction barring the defendants from keeping dogs on their property at 14314 E. Evans Creek Road near Rogue River, court documents show. At a hearing Thursday, the court found that the mastiffs weren't ideally suited to be livestock guardians and ordered them debarked within 60 days or replaced with a more suitable breed.

Szewc's and Updegraff's attorney asked for some of the dogs to be allowed to remain "bark intact," but the court ruled the order applied to all of the dogs.

The Kreins' complaint says Szewc and Updegraff moved into their home, a little over 300 feet from the Kreins, in 1997 and began breeding the dogs at their home around 2002. The Kreins claimed the dogs would often begin barking at 5 a.m. and would continue throughout the day. They also claimed the couple did nothing to quiet their dogs even after being cited by Jackson County Animal Control in 2002 and 2004 for violating public nuisance codes.

Reach reporter Thomas Moriarty at 541-776-4471, or by email at tmoriarty@mailtribune.com. Follow him at @ThomasDMoriarty.

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