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When a Family Couldn’t Pay Their Bills, the City Took Their Dog and Sold It on eBay

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When a family was unable to pay their debts, the town council began searching for assets that they could seize. Officials arrived with a search warrant, taking a laptop, coffee machine, and even a family member’s wheelchair. But they didn’t stop there. The city also took the family’s dog, a pug named Edda.

The family owed money to the town, including a “dog tax.”

The 1-year-old female pug was valuable to the family, who live in Ahlen, a town in Germany. However, according to a report by the Washington Post, Edda was a purebred, making her an asset with financial value in the eyes of the city.

Once officials picked up the dog, they decided to list her for sale on eBay.

A police officer in a town over 100 miles away saw the listing. While she was skeptical as to how the city came in possession of the dog, she decided to purchase Edda.

Dirk Schlebes, the Ahlen town treasure, said in an interview that the pug sold for a “slightly lower price” than they listed on eBay.

“The money went into the town coffers,” Schlebes added.

Nearly everyone involved is regretting the situation now that things have unfolded. While the sale took place about two months ago, the original owners of Edda are still mourning their loss.

Edda’s new owner, Michaela Jordan, the police officer, also is not happy with her purchase, saying Edda required medical treatment for a severe eye infection that led to a substantial bill. She is considering taking legal action against Ahlen as a result.

Jordan believes she was misled by what the city said in the eBay ad. Edda has already needed four surgeries and is expected to require a fifth. She is demanding to be reimbursed for the cost of purchasing Edda as well as compensated for the medical bills.

The town is also facing significant pressure to explain how the entire incident came to pass.

Ahlen spokesman Frank Merschhaus said that seizing Edda was “legally permissible” but admits that criticism may be warranted.

“Obtaining the proceeds of the sale through a private eBay account was a very questionable decision by the enforcement officer,” said Merschhaus, who added that the city launched an internal investigation which is still underway. He did note that taking a dog is not a common practice.

“Owners who pay their dog tax properly do not need to fear enforcement,” he said. “Only if multiple requests for payment go ignored, or agreements for installment payments are not adhered to” does the town resort is seizing pets. “It is a very long way to seizure.”