Europe

French rooster Maurice wins battle over noise with neighbours

Maurice, the rooster of Corinne Fesseau Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Maurice will not be silenced after a court ruled in his owner's favour

A French court has ruled in favour of a cockerel owner after her bird's early morning crowing provoked a noise pollution complaint from neighbours.

Maurice, who roosts on the picturesque isle of Oléron off the Atlantic coast, was accused of disturbing a retired couple who own a holiday home nearby.

News of his legal troubles flew around the world, gaining him a flock of supporters.

His owner, Corinne Fesseau, was cock-a-hoop at news of the ruling.

"It's a victory for everyone in the same situation as me. I hope it will set a precedent for them," she was quoted by AFP news agency as saying.

At a hearing in July, her lawyers had argued the complaint was ridiculous because crowing roosters were part of country life.

Ms Fesseau, who has lived on Oléron for 35 years, would have had to move or somehow silence Maurice if the judge had ruled against her.

She now will be given €1,000 (£900; $1,100) in damages from the plaintiffs instead, her lawyer said on Thursday.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Ms Fesseau tried to quieten Maurice - including by placing sheets over his coop

The legal battle involving the bird saw a "Save Maurice" petition garner 140,000 online signatures.

The four-year-old has become a celebrity of sorts in France, where the Gallic Cockerel is one of the national emblems.

Merchandise has been made in his honour and letters of support have come from as far away as the United States, according to Reuters news agency.

The high-profile case is considered an illustration of the growing tension between residents living in rural France and those moving to escape city life.

"This is the height of intolerance - you have to accept local traditions," Christophe Sueur, the mayor in Ms Fesseau's village, told AFP.

The mayor of another town, Bruno Dionis du Sejour, wrote an open letter in May calling for the sounds of rural life - including cows mooing and church bells - to be inscribed on France's heritage list to protect them against such complaints.


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