A French couple is being forced to drain their pond under court order because of the racket caused by its breeding frogs. The outcome is the result of a nine-year legal battle in which Michel and Annie Pecheras fought to save their pond in the small village of Grignols, Dordogne. Around 2008, the couple re-dug an old pond that had previously been filled in, though they say they moved it farther away from neighbors. The distance apparently wasn't enough for neighbor Jean-Louis Malfione, who sued in 2012 over the croaks of breeding frogs in the pond. A bailiff then determined the frogs' croaks during mating season registered at 63 decibels in the open window of Malfione's bedroom, per the Guardian. The Telegraph reports that's about as loud as an operating washing machine or vacuum.
The case was thrown out in 2014, then revived before landing with a judge who sided with Malfione this month, per the Guardian. From Dec. 3, the Pecheras will have 90 days to drain the pond, which is more than 3,000 square feet, and get rid of the frogs. Otherwise, they say they'll be forced to pay nearly $16,000 to Malfione, plus a $180 fine for each day of delay. Work has already begun. But the Pecherases haven't completely given up their fight. "In the North of France, municipalities give grants for the creation of ponds in gardens. Is there a difference between the north and the south of France?" the two write in an online petition calling to "save the frogs." It has received more than 96,000 signatures in three days. Meanwhile, a local environmental group is appealing the decision to France's highest court. (Read more France stories.)