Posted by: Kathy Krywicki
Think you have noisy neighbours? What if you live next door to a garden pond full of hundreds of frogs? This noise complaint was reported not on April Fool’s Day but rather Ground Hog Day, February 2, 1944 in the Ottawa Citizen.
No Bylaw Forbidding Frogs from Singing in Lily Ponds
Framing of the “bullfrog bylaw” under present city ordinances is practically impossible, city solicitor Gordon Medcalf K.C., had to admit this morning.
“Unless the pond in the garden on Leonard Avenue is a health menace, we’re stuck and residents who complain of the singing of 200 frogs in the pond will have to put up with it,” said Mr. Medcalf.
“Under the municipal act we can regulate horses, cows, goats, swine and prohibit the keeping of all animals except horses or mules” he said “but bullfrogs – no. There’s nothing to prevent them from coming up to your door and singing”.
Mr. Medcalf said “he imagined” the pond-possessing property owner would “very quickly deny the keeping of frogs in his private lake” and that “no doubt” the frogs were attracted there themselves by the “luscious” quality of the water.
Can’t Be Stopped
“The City can’t legally stop frogs from making a noise” he said. “We might put a sanitary engineer in to check the pond from the health standpoint or we might bring in someone from the engineer department capable of measuring the volume of sound. But after we get all these statistics I don’t know what we could do.”
Loss of sleep “wasn’t funny” the solicitor admitted but added if the irate lady who wrote in to complain about the noise could inform the city police where the noisy frogs hide out in the winter time, the constables might deport them to the country before spring.
The matter came up in Board of Control yesterday when a resident complained about the singing frogs who “live in a lily pond on Leonard Avenue”.