Judge fines frog-killer for illegal gun possession
A man who was so irritated by the croaking of his neighbour’s frogs that he shot two of them was fined €1,500 by a German court on Thursday, for illegal possession of firearms.
The man, named only as Frank H., was fined by the judge in Krefeld after denying killing one frog and seriously injuring another, but admitting owning two guns for which he had no license.
Judge Christian Tenhofen heard that Frank H. and his neighbour Andreas van Straelen had known each other for more than 40 years, during which arguments over the noise that the nocturnal green frogs make in the springtime had escalated.
Frank H. had complained to his neighbour about the noise several times and threatened to "blow them away," the court heard.
Van Straelen had installed a video camera on his house, trained on his neighbour’s window - just in case something happened, he said. Then it did.
“I was looking at the monitor. The window opened and the gun was pointing out, and it went off,” he said. “As I went to photograph him, the camera beeped and he ducked down.”
It was too late for Knötti, his favourite green frog, which, with tragic irony, had never made any noise due to a possible genetic defect.
That night he croaked though, dying of massive head injuries.
A second frog was seriously hurt, one of his back legs blown off.
Van Straelen called the police, but Frank H. told them he had been sleeping.
He had apparently not reckoned on the police checking his house for weapons. They did so, and found two guns for which he had no license.
Van Straelen said he had kept Knötti’s body in the deep freeze for several months, in case it was going to be needed as evidence in court. “Anyone could recognise the bullet entry wound,” he said.
The injured frog was saved, and has been renamed Ahab after the one-legged captain in the novel Moby Dick.
Van Straelen said he was “a bit disappointed” that the killing of Knötti was not discussed in court. But he was “happy the case had been made public,” he said.
“My aim was to show that it simply isn’t on to shoot protected animals.”