Call it cock-a-doodle-due-process. After being dragged into a French court over complaints that his early-morning crowing was a nuisance, Maurice the Rooster has been vindicated. This week, a judge ruled the bird has every right to follow his natural instincts and crow his little tail off.
The decision, handed down this week, ends what had been a lengthy and pun-filled struggle between Maurice’s owner and her neighbors on Île d’Oléron, an island in western France. For two years, residents of the area asserted Corrine Fesseau was liable for the public disturbance caused by her rooster. A couple who had a second home on the island complained that Maurice—who had hatched in July 2017—would rise at 6:30 a.m. each morning to crow. They insisted that Fesseau needed to quell the racket by relocating the bird or having him be “made to shut up,” according to The Guardian.
While the latter carries somewhat sinister implications, Fesseau was not willing to comply. The pair sued, which ignited a storm of controversy in France over whether urban citizens with vacation homes had cause to complain over the cacophony of the rural area.
In his ruling, the judge indicated Maurice was situated in his natural surroundings and was therefore not expected to conform to any sensibilities but his own. Maurice’s lawyer, Julian Papineau, told gathered press that the bird could not be penalized simply for doing what roosters do. “This rooster was not being unbearable,” Papineau said. “He was just being himself.”
For his victory, Maurice can continue to greet the morning on his own terms. He and Corrine Fesseau were also awarded $1100 in damages.