A years-long legal battle between pond owners in a French village and their neighbors, pestered by loud frogs, has come to an end after a court ordered the basin be drained. The fate of the frogs, however, still remains uncertain.
The infamous pond of discord, that repeatedly made headlines over the years, is located in the village of Grignols in the southwest French department of Dordogne.
The pond’s owners, Michel and Annie Pecheras, have been entangled in a legal battle with their neighbors since 2012, when they first went to the courts to try and have the basin filled. The neighbors claimed the frogs dwelling in the pond were extremely noisy and croaked so loud during mating season that it damaged their quality of life and disrupted their sleep.
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The case has been bouncing back and forth between courts for years before the couple was issued a final notice by a judge in early December. The 300 square meter pond now has to be drained within 90 days. Failure to comply will result in heavy fines and, potentially, even a prison sentence for the owners.
The Pecheras also have to pay around €13,000 to their neighbors in penalties and legal costs. Environmentalists will be called in to try and collect the animals from the pond, which is home to amphibians, fish and ducks, the couple told local media.
While the Pecheras have already deployed equipment to drain their pond, the fate of the water body – and its dwellers – remains uncertain. Last week, a third-party appeal was filed by the Society for the Study, Protection and Development of Nature in the South-West (SEPANSO) to the Court of Cassation, the highest judicial authority in France. The environmentalists insist that the pond houses at least five protected species, and destroying their habitat would be a crime in itself.
The Pecheras said the SEPANSO motion remains their only hope to save the pond, expressing fears, however, that the Court of Cassation won’t be able to give a ruling in time.
“What should we do, wait? Refill the pond? And if the Cassation tells us that we have won, the [neighbors] will have to give us back the money we are going to give them” Annie Pecheras told Franceinfo.
Apart from the fresh legal action, a new petition to save the rowdy amphibians was launched over the weekend, gathering nearly 100,000 signatures in less than two days.
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