That’s ruff: Chinese dog abandoned in ‘pet hotel’ to be auctioned off online

  • Court orders four-year-old Dengdeng to be sold to cover cost of its extended stay at hotel
  • Starting bid set at 500 yuan, but social media users confident pooch will fetch much more
PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 October, 2018, 7:56pm
UPDATED : Friday, 26 October, 2018, 8:24pm

A dog that was apparently abandoned by its owner at a “pet hotel” in Beijing almost three years ago will be auctioned off next month to raise money to pay its bill, a court in the Chinese capital has ruled.

The owner of Dengdeng, a four-year-old yellow-and-white Shiba Inu, checked the animal in to the Beijing Pet Hotel in 2014 and paid for it to be looked after until December 19, 2015.

That date came and went, however, and despite staff at the kennels trying to contact the animal’s owner, identified as Xiao Jiabo, on several occasions, he never reappeared.

After failing to get its money, the hotel turned to the legal system and sued Xiao, according to a summary of the lawsuit published on China Judgments Online.

The case was heard at the Beijing Chaoyang District Court last year, which ruled in the plaintiff’s favour and ordered Xiao – who did not appear at the hearing – to pick up his dog and pay what he owed. The notice did got give a specific amount but said the kennels had put the cost of caring for Dengdeng at 60 yuan (US$8.60) per day.

When no money was forthcoming, the court ordered the dog to be auctioned off at a judicial sale, with the proceeds going to the plaintiff.

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The auction will take place on Taobao, part of Alibaba Group – which also owns the South China Morning Post – on November 10, the day before Singles’ Day, China’s equivalent to the annual Black Friday online shopping event.

The website notice said a starting bid had been set at 500 yuan, but social media users were confident Dengdeng would fetch more than that.

“The dog has become an internet sensation … even if you paid 50,000 yuan it would be worth it,” a person said on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like service.

“The dog is so cute! Staff at the courthouse are also adorable to write this notice for him,” said another.

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More than 1,200 people have so far signed up for the auction, and more than 10,000 have set reminders on the Taobao auction page, which has been viewed more than 135,000 times.

Staff at the pet hotel declined to be interviewed, but said they would answer questions about Dengdeng.

“Meetings with the dog can also be arranged,” a worker said.