German Town Sells Family Dog on EBay To Settle Debts

Lori Ennis
by Lori Ennis
German authorities in the city of Ahlen are under fire, as they decided selling a family’s dog would be an appropriate way to settle debts the family owed the city.

Talk about high-interest rates! A family in Ahlen, Germany had their dog seized and sold on eBay as a way to pay off debts they owed to the city.

The authorities said the dog seizure was legal, and they put the family’s pug Edda on eBay, for €750 ($850 USD). Ironically, some of the debt the family owned was for the local dog tax, and a police officer named Micaela Jordan bought Edda.

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Obviously, the family is heartbroken, saying that they miss Edda and had done everything they could to pay as much as they could. The city officials had already seized other property of the family–nonessential household goods–to be sold for debt pay-off and apparently they felt that Edda was non-essential to the family as well.

Jordan, for her part, is not thrilled either because she said that even though she was somewhat skeptical of doing such a thing, the officials advised her that it was completely legal, and the dog was in great health. That doesn’t seem to be the case, though, as Jordan says that Edda was not in great health at all.

In fact, Jordan is now suing the city for fraudulent advertisement about Edda’s health. She said that Edda had an eye infection and needed four operations. She’s looking for her money back, as well as the money she put out for treatments, which was about €1,800 ($2,048).

Animal welfare advocates are not thrilled with this ‘debt payoff’ system either, as it’s painful for pets. Lea Schmitz is a spokesperson with the German Animal Welfare Federation and says that animal trade on internet platforms is not good. More, deciding to sell the family bet was ‘absurd’ as it would bring pain to a sentient creature. Schmitz says that dogs bind themselves to their families and their homes, and when they are separated, it’s harmful for the dogs as it is for the humans.

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It is legal, as pets valued more than €250 can be confiscated to settle debts, and Ahlen city spokesperson Frank Merschhaus called the ‘canine foreclosure’ a pragmatic solution for the family’s debts.

Still, the whole sale is now under investigation because the officer who auctioned Edda off reportedly used a private eBay account to do so. The media coverage surely hasn’t brought good feedback for such pragmatism, and it’s no wonder.

Pets are not property! They’re family!

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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