The French courts had their last word: Grignols’ frogs (frogs) must go.
Frogs in a Dordogne village were warned after a judge ruled they make so much noise during mating season that they are a nuisance to neighbors.
After nine years of legal battles, Michel and Annie Pécheras were told they had 90 days to drain the 300 square meter pond from their home in the village of Grignols: 587 inhabitants, and get rid of the amphibians.
Environmental activists say some of the frogs are protected species.
Michel Pécheras says he re-excavated the historic pond that had been filled in and moved it away from the property of his neighbors 12 years ago.
He told reporters that his neighbor Jean-Louis Malfione did not complain at the time and even asked who had done the work so that he could create a pond on his own property.
However, in 2012, Malfione filed a lawsuit, backed by a bailiff who claimed that the noise frogs made at certain times of the year reached 63 decibels when recorded from the open bedroom window of the neighbour.
In 2014, the case was first dismissed by a local court, then confirmed by a Bordeaux judge. Since then, it has gone back and forth between jurisdictions. The call by environmental activists for the frogs to be moved before the pond is destroyed has also failed.
Under threat of heavy fines and jail after a judgment this month, the Pécheras have started emptying the pond, which is also home to fish and ducks and an oasis for the passage of wildlife, including herons, deer and wild boar.
In the meantime, the environment group Société pour l’Étude et d’Aménagement de la nature dans le Sud-Ouest is appealing to the cour de cassation, the highest court in France. The Association Cistude Nature claims there are six protected species of frog in the pond.
A petition to save the Frogs from Grignols reached more than 91,000 signatures in two days.
This is the latest case of campaign noise complaints to make headlines in France. Lawsuits have already been taken against crowing roosters, smelly cows, cowbells and quack ducks. There have also been complaints about the cacophony made by cicadas in Provence and church bells.