German city faces court action for seizing pug and putting it on Ebay

Confiscation of the canine only happened after other nonessential household goods had been taken, says the city of Ahlen’s treasurer, Dirk Schlebes

Edda the pug is photographed in Dusseldorf, Germany
Edda the pug is photographed in Dusseldorf, Germany

Authorities in the German city of Ahlen are facing a possible lawsuit after debt collectors seized a family’s pug and sold it on eBay.

The pedigree pooch, called Edda, was confiscated in December 2018 after the family allegedly failed to pay debts owed, including a dog tax.

She was then sold on the suction site for €750 (£644).

Buyer Michaela Jordan told national news agency DPA she had filed a case against officials for fraudulent advertisement, saying the pug's condition and the way she was obtained was not disclosed in the listing.

She told the publication that the canine had an eye infection and needed four operations, despite being advertised as healthy.

Ms Jordan is now seeking compensation from the city for the purchase price, as well as €1,800 ($2,048) in treatments.

The seizure was heavily criticised on social media, with many commenters saying that the decision to sell the family pet was unnecessarily cruel.

German Animal Welfare Federation spokesperson Lea Schmitz said the removal and subsequent removal sale could have “painful” consequences for the pet.

“Animals are not objects, they are living beings and anchored in their families, in their homes,” she told ABC News. “Dogs bind themselves particularly strong to their owners and often suffer when they lose their homes.”

However, officials defended the decision, saying it was last resort to recover the money owed.

Dirk Schlebes, Ahlen’s treasurer, said the seizure of Edda was “legal” and “only happened after other nonessential household goods had been taken.”

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