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Learn why giving a dog away on eBay could seriously damage its health

A small dog looks over a fence dog-sad
© Shutterstock

A dog shelter in Germany’s western province reports a worrying rise in the number of dogs given away on eBay. Read on to discover the story of just one: Kovu.

By Nick Whittle

Published on the 09/11/2019, 17:00, Updated on the 19/12/2019, 15:22

Kovu’s owner had come to a decision. In light of a change in her circumstances she was no longer able to look after the German Shepherd. But rather than take her dog to the nearest animal shelter she chose to advertise Kovu on eBay as a “give away”.

Very soon (too soon, perhaps) a man contacted Kovu’s owner and expressed his interest in adopting the dog. As part of the agreement to take the dog the man was asked to sign and return a contract which included an obligation to keep the dog safe. The contract was never signed.


Ist er nicht ein einziger Prachtkerl??? Kovu. Entsorgt wie ein alter Putzlappen. Feige einfach angebunden neben dem...

Posted by Tierheim Mayen on Saturday, October 26, 2019

Just a few weeks later Kovu appeared outside the Tierheim Mayen shelter. Although not worse for wear, the dog was clearly nervous and agitated. According to staff on site at the time, the prospective adopter dumped the dog at the gates and drove off in a hurry.

Kovu is one of three dogs that were this year given away on eBay only to be hurriedly returned to a shelter by the new owners.

Giving away on eBay

It is not wise to give away a dog to someone who is not known to you. A dog owner who is desperate to rid themselves of their dog may give in to the temptation of such a quick solution, but by doing so they fail to take into account the welfare and safety of the dog.

If your circumstances change sufficiently to prevent you from keeping a dog you should contact a local dog shelter. Bringing a dog to a rehoming shelter is far more preferable than handing the animal over to someone who may not have the animal’s interest at heart.

Writes the shelter in a Facebook post about the recent spate of eBay giveaways [translated], “All of them were taken over and dumped after a short time. Always in a dark and cowardly way.

“These animals are victims of the frequent changes and emotional tolls humans put on them. They then need time to rebuild confidence in us."