A French town has banned dogs from barking too much — and animal rights activists say the rule is too “ruff.”
Pooch owners who fail to keep Fido quiet in the small northern village of Feuquières will be hit with a $68 fine for “prolonged or repeated barking,” according to reports.
“The aim is not to ban dogs and we won’t be fining people for the slightest hint of a yap,” Jean-Pierre Estienne, the mayor, told Le Parisien newspaper.
“The town has nothing against dogs but when you decide to have them, you educate them.”
But so-called “animal freedom” boosters are barking mad over the vocal crackdown, which they say is too strict.
“You may as well stop church bells ringing on Sunday morning! If dogs have mouths, it’s so they can bark,” Stéphane Lamart, president of For the Defense of Animal Rights, told Le Monde newspaper.
The draconian doggy law may even end up increasing home break-ins, he said.“People are very happy about it when they sound the alarm in case of burglary.”
The move to muzzle mutts comes after dozens of residents signed a petition, griping about owners with loud pooches driving them nuts. The residents focused on one extra-bad offender who owns several large and loud dogs, according to Le Monde.
“We have made several attempts to establish a dialogue with her, to no avail. The noise pollution is getting worse and worse,” Estienne said, according to the paper.
On Monday, as the crackdown began, he urged owners to keep dogs inside when they’re not home and to use anti-barking collars.
The rule was a last resort after residents had begun yapping about the problem to cops, he said, according to a translation by the UK Telegraph.
Police in the town, he said, “have other fish to fry.”
Other cities have banned prolonged barking, including Centennial, Ohio, where pooch owners have howled over fines up to $75.
Hawaii County and parts of Los Angeles also have similar bark bans.
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