French town ‘threatens dog owners with £60 fine if their pet barks too much.
French mayor, Jean-Pierre Estienne, has issued a decree banning dogs from barking too much in his village, prompting a furious response from “animal freedom” activists who say he is curbing canine freedoms.
Mayor Jean-Pierre Estienne says the ban is in response to dogs “barking day and night” and creating “an unbearable situation” in the village.
The decree has been criticised by animal rights activists.
“The aim is not to ban dogs and we won’t be fining people for the slightest hint of a yap,” Mr Estienne told French newspaper Le Parisien (in French).
“The town has nothing against dogs but when you decide to have them, you educate them.” He suggested owners keep dogs inside when not present or use anti-barking dog collars.
The decree follows a petition sent by a string of villagers complaining about a female resident who they said did nothing to keep her dogs in check. “She has several dogs, some large,” said the mayor. “We have made several attempts to establish a dialogue with her, to no avail. The noise pollution is getting worse and worse.”
Yappy dogs must also be kept inside if their behaviour “disturbs the rest or relaxation” of Feuquières’ 1,400 residents.
Offenders (or more specifically, their owners) will receive a fine for each complaint made against them.
However, the decree has triggered an angry response from the association for the defence of animal rights.
“This is completely barking,” its president, Stéphane Lamart said. “You may as well stop church bells ringing on Sunday morning! If dogs have mouths, it’s so they can bark. People are very happy about it when they sound the alarm in case of burglary,” he said.
Mr Lamart said he understood that incessant barking could be problematic, but added: “I’ve never seen a dog bark from morning to evening.” He intends to lodge an appeal with the local administrative court.
This is not the first time French authorities have tried to dampen doggy decibels.
In 2012, Sainte-Foy-la-Grande in southwest France passed a ban on any excessive dog barking that disturbed “public order”.