Neighbor wins $500,000 judgment in lawsuit over barking dog

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Woman loses lawsuit over barking dog
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Denise Norton's neighbor sued her over her loud, barking dog and won in court for nearly half a million dollars

SEATTLE, WA -- A family in Seattle may have to pay more than $500,000 because their neighbor sued them over their barking dog, and won.

In the sprawling 36-page complaint obtained by ABC affiliate KOMO-TV, Norton's neighbor Woodrow Thompson claimed Denise Norton's dog named Cawper is known for "raucously, wildly bellowing, howling and explosively barking." The lawsuit called the dog an outrage, with intentional infliction of emotional distress, and claimed the dog's barking caused "profound emotional distress."

The suit claims the dog's barks and howls were as loud as 128 decibels through double pane windows. Research from Purdue University says that would make Cawper louder than a chainsaw and a clap of thunder. The dog would also almost be nearly as loud as the takeoff of a military jet.

So how did Norton lose this lawsuit? She told KOMO-TV she thought the lawsuit was a joke, so she didn't respond it.

"In my head, everything was so bogus that he'd been doing, I don't know why, I just didn't think it was real or something," said Norton.

As a result, the lawsuit went to a default judgment because Norton didn't challenge it.

"The Sheriff comes, puts the papers on the garage and the wall and everything and saying they were going to put the house up for sale," Norton said.

Now, Norton is working to fight the judgement and get the case dismissed. A court date is pending.