Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Home » No Croaks: French Police Intervene in Neighbours’ Frog Row

No Croaks: French Police Intervene in Neighbours’ Frog Row

by Jose Miguel
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Gendarmes turn up at home of 92-year-old woman after receiving complaint about amphibian guests in her garden

A culture war has broken out in a small village in the Savoie region of the northern Alps where three large frogs are threatened with being silenced.

In the latest example of a conflict of rights between town and country, nature and neighbour, 92-year-old Colette Ferry opened her door in the small village of Frontenex – population about 1,800 – to two gendarmes recently who said they would be taking away three amphibians that had taken up residence in her garden pond.

The officers said they were responding to a complaint by a neighbour unable to sleep because of the loud croaking they were making at all hours.

Ferry told them that while the fish in the pond were hers, the frogs were squatting. “They’re in and out of the water playing with my fish. It’s my entertainment,” she told a local radio station.

“A man came here and was really yelling at me, saying he could not sleep and he had to work … but I did not expect the gendarmes. Especially not for frogs! But there’s always someone ready to complain about someone else,” she added.

Animal noise pollution is a regular cause of rustic rows in France, which are often seen as symbolic of the clash between those living in rural areas who have long kept animals or rung church bells, and privileged incomers from urban areas of France or abroad who have moved to or bought second homes in the countryside.

Most famously, Maurice the noisy rooster survived legal attempts to silence him in 2019 when a judge ruled he could continue crowing, after thousands of people signed a “Save Maurice” petition.

Ducks, geese, cows and even cicadas have survived attempts at silencing. Two years ago, senators approved a law to protect the noises and smells of the countryside. “Living in the countryside implies accepting some nuisances,” said Joël Giraud, the minister for rural life at the time.

Ferry seems mostly amused by the fuss and is looking forward to even more entertainment when the gendarmerie sends someone round to remove the frogs.

“That’ll be fun … they jump,” she said.

Source: The Guardian

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