Friday, September 3, 1999 Published at 17:07 GMT 18:07 UK
Villagers back 'noisy' cockerel
More than 100 villagers have signed a petition in support of a cockerel after the bird's owner was ordered to reduce the noise of its crowing.
Jonathan Loy, from East Budleigh in Devon, darkened the coop of his West Sussex cockerel Claude to keep the bird quiet until later in the morning.
But while the architect and furniture designer was on holiday with his family, villagers organised a petition in Claude's defence.
One of the organisers, Mr Loy's next door neighbour Mary Vaughan, said the action taken against Claude was "absolutely potty".
"We live in the country and we love to hear the old boy. It is a crazy situation. If you live in the country you expect to hear cows mooing and cocks crowing," she said.
The petition has been sent to East Devon council, which issued Mr Loy with a noise abatement order following a complaint.
Mr Loy said he got rid of Claude's father over three years ago following similar complaints - a move which caused an "outcry" among other villagers.
East Devon District Council deputy chief health and housing officer, Simon Smale, said they had received complaints about noise of the cock crowing in the early hours and disturbing an adjoining property.
Country life eroded
Mr Loy was then asked to take "simple measures" to reduce the problem.
"These have been done and appear to have been successful. We do not anticipate any further action," said Mr Smale.
Mr Loy said if further action was taken he was prepared to fight the matter in court because of local support.
"My neighbours do not want to see the further erosion of country life," he said.
"If we felt there was a real problem we would get rid of Claude," added Mr Loy, who said the council had not revealed who had made the complaint.