A police academy in China is planning to auction off police dogs who failed to qualify due to “cowardice” and “weak retrieving abilities”. According to an official notice from the Criminal Investigation Police University of China this month, 54 dogs will be put up for public auction on July 7 at the academy. An attached list from the academy showed that the dogs are mostly German shepherds and Belgian Malinois, which are commonly used to aid police work due to their agility, obedience and intelligence. Most of the dogs were disqualified for “cowardice”, the list revealed; some for body strength, including “small size” or “weak limbs”; while others were eliminated for a lack of obedience, including “weak pickup and retrieving abilities”. On auction day, videos of each dog will be shown to the public before bidding begins at 200 yuan (US$30.9). The highest bidder will be able to collect the dog on the same day. “People who adopted these dogs will need to obey government laws on dog raising, and show responsibility to the dogs, they cannot sell or give away the dogs and need to care for them until their natural death,” the notice said. According to the academy’s official website, it has auctioned off dogs four times this year, selling 158 dogs so far. “[Auctioning off the dogs] is a very normal process for us,” the academy told Beijing Youth Daily. The dogs are very healthy, but not suitable for police work, they said. The public has reacted to the post with enthusiasm, with many joking that it’s not easy being a dog. “There’s so much pressure and such fierce competition to get a government job, even for dogs,” one person said on Weibo. “Even if they are too much of a ‘coward’ to catch thieves, they can still qualify to be play dates for children,” another said. According to the ministry, all potential police dogs are bred in licenced centres and are trained from when they reach 45 days old to six months of age. The cubs are trained for speed, courage, sniffing and retrieving abilities. When fully grown they will be further trained and need to pass examinations to qualify as an official police dog. According to public data from a police dog breeding base in Kunming, Yunnan province, 14 per cent of their dogs were disqualified in 2018 and 2019. Even after officially becoming a police dog, the animal will face a month-long training and re-evaluation session every year. When they are too old to work, the dogs are usually sent back to the breeding bases or adopted by the public to spend their last years in peace.