French couple terrorised by town hall peacock receive €4000 after having to undergo therapy

Court ruled city had not taken necessary measures to contain the unruly bird

A French couple who were forced to undergo therapy after being terrorised by a council-owned peacock have reportedly won €4,000 in damages from a Marseille court.

According to a lawsuit brought against the city, the couple claimed to have been left with insomnia and depression after four years living with the bird’s shrieking calls.

In 2008 the peacock had been given as a gift to the mayor at the time, reported the Marseille-based newspaper La Provence.

But the animal quickly started drawing complaints from neighbours after it began escaping and making its way through people’s gardens, where it would promptly start displaying and squawking.

The reportedly harassed couple wrote a series of letters to the Town Hall demanding it take action to restrain the bird, but despite a visit from officials in April 2009 no solution was found.

The neighbours finally won their lawsuit in January 2012, yet were awarded just €100 in damages – despite claiming they had been forced to have regular sessions with a psychiatrist.

The case was brought to the Administrative Court of Appeal, which ruled that Marseille had failed to take the necessary measures to keep the peacock from causing a disturbance. It has now ordered the city to pay out €4,000.

The peacock itself has since been captured, according to the French edition of The Local, and relocated to a farm well outside the city.

Despite their spectacular plumage, the birds can be a regular cause of disruption when they move in near people's homes. The UK RSPCA's website has an entry under its Frequently Answered Questions dedicated to "Noisy Peacocks", which says: "Peacock calls are best described as shrill raucous shrieks."

"They can be extremely noisy and annoying to some people," it adds. "However, other people will put food out to encourage peafowl into their area so that they can admire these beautiful birds."

"If the matter cannot be sorted out in a friendly way, you are advised to complain to your local authority about the peacock causing noise pollution."

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