Dordogne couple in pond row after ruling on frog noise
A Dordogne couple has been ordered by a court to drain their natural pond because its frogs are too loud - but, because the frogs are protected, the couple also risks prison if they comply.
Michel Pecheras and his wife Annie own the large natural pond on their land, whose frog inhabitants have been judged unacceptably loud, after neighbours complained that they could no longer stand the constant noise.
The Court of Appeal ordered the couple to drain the pond, or risk fines of €150 per day, reports news source FranceInfo.
However, according to environment laws, the frogs in question are protected - along with seven other species of animal living in the pond - meaning the couple faces two years in prison and a €150,000 fine if they comply with the Court of Appeal ruling.
Now, the director of local natural association group Cistude Nature is hoping to refer the case to French ecology minister Nicolas Hulot, to ask the State to make a final ruling on the issue. It could even be taken to the European courts if necessary.
There is even a petition on the issue on the website Change.org, which is asking for 150,000 signatures in support of the couple. Over 114,840 have signed so far.
The couple is clear that they do not want to touch the water in any case.
“It’s a pond that has been here for over 100 years. My grandparents used to bring their cows to drink the water here,” explained Michel Pecheras to FranceInfo. “There have always been ponds in the countryside, but now we are being punished if we destroy it, and punished if we do not.”
His wife Annie added: “We will try hard to make sure the pond stays as it is; the Earth is the Earth, and we do not touch.”
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