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French mayor bans 'excessive dog barking'

German shepherd barking
© Pixabay

A ban on excessive dog barking has come into force in a small town in northern France, prompting animal activists to cry ‘foul’. 

By Nick Whittle, 15 Feb 2019

The commune of Feuquières, 40 miles south east of Dieppe has been beset by barking dogs for a while. According to Mayor Jean-Pierre Estienne various dogs all over the village have been, ‘barking day and night’, which has led to an ‘unbearable situation’ for residents. 

Last week the mayor and his council ratified a law which promises a fine of €68 (£60) for those owners who allow their dogs to bark to excess.  

The reason for the ban on barking

According to the BBC, M. Estienne said, ‘The aim is not to ban dogs and we won't be fining people for the slightest hint of a yap’. But he also made it clear that any dog that ‘disturbs the rest or relaxation’ of Feuquières' 1,400 residents will cause its owner to be slapped with the fine. 

Animal rights activists have criticised the new law for what they regard as its curbing of a dog’s right to express itself and to communicate. 

M. Stéphane Lamart, president of the Association for the Defence of Animal Rights said he intended to launch an appeal against Estienne’s ruling. ‘I've never seen a dog bark from morning to evening,’ Lamart said.

However, in response to wider claims that the legislation is unnecessary and simplistic, Estienne replied by saying: ‘The town has nothing against dogs but when you decide to have them, you educate them.’

Barking is in fact easy to eradicate of dogs but requires time and patience on behalf of the owner. If nothing else, the new ruling will encourage those owners who have not yet trained their dogs in barking etiquette to quickly do so. 

Additional concerns have been raised about the use of anti-bark electric collars and other harsh forms of discipline. Such measures are shown not to work and may even make the problem worse.