In a move that has surprised many, one German debt collector assessed a family’s possessions and seized the most valuable thing they could find: a pet pug.
The pooch then sold on eBay for about $850, the New York Times reported.
Could It Happen in the US?
Think your shih tzu is safe? You may have to think again. While pets are typically not eligible for repossession in debt repayment, there are special circumstances that allow for it. For example, in the case of the purebred pug, being valued as at least worth $850 was the excepting factor.
Since shih tzu puppies range in cost from $900-$2,500 in the US (and other breeds priced at up to $3,000), your furry family friend could be at risk if debt collectors come your way.
While this recent story occurred in Germany, there are US businesses who finance pet purchases. As a result of any financing lease, repossession of collateral can occur if there is a lack of repayment.
Some pet owners may enter lease agreements which specifically name their pets as collateral, perhaps not thinking the day will ever come where their fur baby is used as such. There have been at least some cases where debtors have turned over these purebred or financially valuable pets due to liens.
While Californians can point to legislation which tries to ban pet repossession, the statutes are unfortunately unclear on where the legal lines are drawn. Some hope may be found in the fact that pets don’t fall under the legal definition of “household goods,” which are commonly taken into consideration for seizure in debt repayment circumstances.
For someone filing bankruptcy, certain protections for animals in a household can be fought for by a hired lawyer or a debtor well-versed in and able to navigate the complexities of these indistinct laws.
Not ready to protect Fido on your own? Get in touch with an attorney who knows their way around bankruptcy law to learn about your options.