A village in north-east France has banned people from keeping more than two dogs or one cockerel, goose or guinea fowl in a curiously precise decree.
Mayor Angeline Lamy issued the decree on September 11 saying the aim was “to limit the disruptive noises made by these animals in the commune, vis-a vis their intensity, duration, aggressive or repetitive nature and duration.”
The decree has caused a stir among the 250 residents of Emberménil in Meurthe-et-Moselle, who had until September 20 to comply or else face a fine of €68.
‘Trampling on our freedom’
One resident, Pauline, who has seven dogs, told France Bleu that has had to quickly find new homes for several of her pets.
“The SPA [ the Society for the protection of animals] is taking one, but I can’t give all of them to the association, especially since they have not been mistreated.”
Another resident, Anne-Laure Perrot, has taken umbrage at the degree, which she says is “trampling on people’s freedom.”
“We have four cocks that we keep as pets, and they do tend to crow at night, which can sometimes annoy our neighbours,” said Anne-Laure Perrot.
“Today they’re telling us one cockerel, two dogs, what’s next? A curfew at 22:00?”
Ms Perrot, who moved to the village seven years ago, said that in early September the mayor came to her house at 05:55 along with two gendarmes to document her cockerels crowing.
“I can understand that it's annoying but this is the countryside, it's normal that there is some animal noise here,” she said.
In France, disruptive noise at night, or tapage nocturne, is usually sanctioned by a fine of €68 rather than specific municipal decrees, however, the rules include a tolerance for countryside noises, and specifically cockerels, which tend to crow in the morning.
Certain residents of Emberménil plan on launching an informal appeal against the decree to the prefecture of Meurthe-et-Moselle, hoping to dispute its legality.
“There is no way they’ll end up in a casserole, they are family, the kids play with them,” said Ms Perrot.