A town in Germany has made headlines for seizing a family’s dog over unpaid taxes – and then selling it on eBay.
German media report that officials in Ahlen initially wanted to seize the wheelchair of a disabled resident as the most valuable item on the premises.
Instead, they settled on a pedigree pug bitch named Edda.
One of the officials then listed the dog on eBay at an apparent bargain price of €750 – half of what its new owner expected to pay.
But the case – first reported in local newspaper Ahlener Tageblatt – was not yet over.
Edda’s new owner was Michaela Jordan, a police officer, who told the newspaper she was initially suspicious of the low price.
Upon calling the number listed in the advert, she spoke to an employee of Ahlen’s administration, who explained that the dog had been seized because the owner owed the city money – including for unpaid dog tax.
The pug was healthy, she was told, and so Ms Jordan agreed to the sale.
Now, she says that Edda had medical problems that were not disclosed. Since changing owners in December, she has needed four operations due to eye problems, including an emergency operation over Christmas.
Ms Jordan is seeking recompense for the expense – totalling about €1,800. Her demands from the town brought the case to the attention of the Ahlener Tageblatt – which also managed to track down Edda’s original owner.
“How it all ended, that was absolutely not okay,” the former owner said, though she accepts that the seizure was legal.
She told the newspaper that a court bailiff and two city officials arrived at her home in November to search for valuables to repay the debts owed to the city.
At first, they considered seizing the wheelchair belonging to her disabled husband, she said. But it was not their property, belonging instead to an employee insurance association.
Edda, it turned out, was the most valuable possession in the home.
“I know now that Edda is in good hands,” the former owner said, but added her three children miss the dog.
The story has since been covered by dozens of news outlets across Germany.
A spokesman for the municipality of Ahlen said seizing a family dog over unpaid debts was “not the usual procedure”.