Well, this is certainly a terrible story that I hate and that I’m sorry to tell you about. In Ahlen, a town in western Germany, a family’s dog was seized by officials (and sold online!) after a woman failed to pay her various debts to the town, including a dog tax. Yes I, too, am suddenly feeling an urge to check in with all of those to whom I am indebted financially.
According to the Associated Press, the dog was a pedigree pug named Edda, and she was seized and sold on eBay for €750 ($854) after local authorities were unable to find anything else of significant-enough value to take from the home. (According to the BBC, they initially wanted to seize a disabled resident’s wheelchair — nice! —but ultimately could not, as it was found to be not their property but instead that of an employee insurance company.)
The AP reports, via German news agency DPA, that Ahlen’s treasurer, Dirk Schlebes, maintains that the dog seizure was legal and was done only after “other nonessential household goods had been taken.”
The pug’s new owner, a police officer named Michaela Jordan, reports the pug had undisclosed medical problems and has needed four operations on her eyes since she was purchased. She is now suing the town for damages to the tune of €1,800 ($2,048).
Jordan’s case was picked up by the local newspaper Ahlener Tageblatt, who reached out to Edda’s original owner. She said, “I know now that Edda is in good hands,” but added that her three children miss her.
If you, like me, are wondering why Ahlen was even allowed to sell a dog on eBay, as they reportedly did, well, you are not alone: I also wondered it. According to the Frequently Asked Questions section in the “Animals and wildlife products policy” section of the eBay Customer Service section of eBay, you are not allowed to do this:
Can I buy a pet on eBay?
No. Although you can buy some animal and wildlife products on eBay, pets and other live animals are not allowed to be listed for sale on our site.
Well, according to an eBay spokesperson, the dog was sold on eBay’s German Classifieds site, eBay Kleinanzeigen, rather than on eBay Marketplace. (As the Frequently Asked Questions states, dogs are not allowed to be sold on Marketplace.) Ah.
I hate this story!