French rooster cleared by court after lawsuit accused him of making too much noise

Maurice the rooster’s early morning cock-a-doodle-doo won’t be silenced after neighbors filed a lawsuit over the noise, a French court ruled Thursday.

The 4-year-old rooster’s dawn crowing exasperated its neighbors, a retired couple who moved to the small island of Oleron off of France’s Atlantic coast.

The judge not only decided to allow the 4-year-old rooster to stay with his owner, Corinne Fesseau, but also ordered the couple to pay 1,000 euros ($1,103) in damages to her for reputational harm, plus court costs.

The case of Maurice the rooster, seen here, highlighted the growing debate between France's countryside living and the encroachment of urban values.

The case of Maurice the rooster, seen here, highlighted the growing debate between France's countryside living and the encroachment of urban values. (REUTERS/Regis Duvignau)

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"It's a victory for everyone in the same situation as me,” Fesseau told Agence France-Presse after the ruling. “I hope it will set a precedent for them.”

The lawsuit was just one of several cases pitting France’s rural culture against new arrivals from the city. Other lawsuits have been filed over the sounds of cowbells, church bells, and cicadas as well as pungent farm smells.

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But Maurice’s case was the most high-profile of all. Local residents even brought a "support committee" of roosters and hens from around the region to the trial venue in Rochefort this past July.

The case also elicited letters of support for Maurice from countries around the world, including the U.S., Reuters reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.