A French mayor 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.
The mayor of Feuquières near Amiens in the northern Oise département, published the “unprecedented” decree after receiving a flurry of complaints from among the village’s 1,500 inhabitants about the incessant barking of some dogs that was making life intolerable.
Starting Monday, owners of dogs who fail to keep in check “prolonged or repeated barking” of their pets are liable for a “third category fine of €68 (£60)”, stipulates the decree.
Jean-Pierre Estienne, the mayor, denied his aim was to impose authoritarian silence on the village but to rein in repeat offenders. “The aim is not to ban dogs and we won’t be fining people for the slightest hint of a yap,” he told Le Parisien.
“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.”