Quacking ducks win noise complaint case against cranky neighbor

If you've ever lived in a small apartment building, you're all too familiar with that obnoxious neighbor who is apparently such a light sleeper that even dropping a feather to the floor, much less having a conversation with friends at 8:00 PM, will trigger their deepest rage and antipathy. If you're lucky, this Scrooge-like dude will knock on your door and yell at you. Not so lucky? They'll call the cops and complain about the noise. Lame. 

Perhaps the award for worst neighbor of all-time, though, should go to the anonymous person (or persons?) in the town of Dax, France. This ornery neighbor, who consciously made the decision to buy a house next to a small farm, evidently got so fed up with the sounds produced by said farmer's ducks — and the fact that they, you know, quack — that they sued, as reported by Reuters. As one particularly famous cartoon duck might say, "Youuu're deththpicable!

And the ducks went quack, quack, quack ...

Now, ducks quack for all kinds of reasons, according to USA Today. The most familiar quacking noises tend to be produced by female ducks, and while they sometimes just quack to communicate their position, there are other times they quack out of loneliness, to call out predators, or to announce that she's laying eggs. One thing they don't do, though, is quack for the purpose of intentionally annoying people, something this neighbor in Dax apparently didn't understand. They were a former city dweller, as it happens, who'd only moved to the countryside about a year ago. While you'd think the gentle, natural sounds of quacking ducks might be a nice change of pace compared to honking cars and police sirens ... well, a lawsuit makes more money. 

The owner of the ducks, Dominique Douthe, didn't back down, even as her neighbors complained that her 60 ducks and geese were making their life "a misery" (okay, that's one tiny, tiny violin). Luckily, the birds quacked their way to a victory, as the French court ruled that their voluminous noises didn't warrant having them killed. Overjoyed, Douthe memorably told the press, "The ducks have won. I'm very happy because I didn't want to slaughter my ducks."

Cheers to that. However, this tale isn't quite over, according to The Guardian. Victory aside, the courts did tack on the conditional requirement that further sound testing of the area would be required, to ensure that the quacking sounds aren't of an "abnormal" level. Either way, this definitely counts as one of the most bizarre news stories of 2019.