A French judge has sentenced a pond full of frogs to capital punishment. Their crime? Being too noisy. The judge decreed the pond must be drained within 90 days.
The legal battle over the frogs of Grignols, a village (population: 587) in the Dordogne area of southern France, has a long history. The frogs live in the backyard pond of Michel and Annie Pécheras. Twelve years ago, Michel re-excavated the 300-square-meter pond and moved it farther from the property line of his neighbor, Jean-Louis Malfione. Things seemed fine for a few years. But in 2012, Malfione brought legal action due to the amphibians’ cries of “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?” during the mating season. At times, their amorous ribbits reached 63 decibels from Malfione’s open window.
The case was thrown out by a judge in 2014 but later upheld by a judge in Bordeaux. Since then, several legal jurisdictions have heard the case. French environmentalists have become increasingly agitated. Some campaigned for the frogs to be relocated to another pond, but that appeal failed.
The environmental group Société pour l’Étude et l’Aménagement de la nature dans le Sud-Ouest is appealing to France’s highest court. The Association Cistude Nature has stated that six protected frog species make their home in the pond.
This isn’t the first noise complaint heard in rural French courts. Other cases have been heard about roosters crowing, ducks quacking, church bells pealing, crickets chirping and cowbells clanging. One farmer even had to pay 8,000 euros because a neighbor thought his cows smelled bad.
Threatened with fines and even prison, Michel and Annie have started emptying the pond. Not only will the frogs be left homeless and probably die, the fish and ducks that live in the pond will be out of luck, and passing wildlife like wild boar, herons and deer might have to start carrying reusable water bottles.
Many people around the world are lending their support to the frogs and other wildlife that the pond supports. More than 95,000 people had already signed this petition within days of its appearance online.
Via The Guardian
Image via Jill Wellington