dog left abandoned at a Beijing “pet hotel” for nearly four years will not go up for auction on Taobao on Saturday after its original owner stepped forward and agreed to hand over more than $9,000 in unpaid kennel fees.
The 4-year-old Shiba Inu named “Dengdeng” had been dropped off at the pet care company on December 20th, 2014, with the owner, surnamed Xiao, signing a one-year contract. However, when that contract was up, the company was unable to contact Xiao and he did not appear to collect his dog.
In 2016, the company went to court over the issue, claiming that caring for Dengdeng was costing them 60 yuan ($8.66) a day. In order to recoup its losses, the court eventually allowed the company to put the dog up for online auction on Taobao with the starting price of 500 yuan ($72).
It’s likely that Dengdeng would have fetched a far greater sum than that. After news of the auction became public, the cute canine became an internet star with hundreds of thousands of netizens declaring their intention to bid on the once forgotten animal.
The auction had been scheduled for November 10th, one day before Alibaba’s Singles Day shopping event, however, the viral story ended up catching the attention of Xiao who contacted the pet hotel and agreed to pay a whopping 63,310 yuan ($9,100) in overdue kennel fees.
According to their agreement, the pet hotel will continue to care for Dengdeng for two more months. Then Xiao will arrive to finally retrieve the dog and take it to the United States where he now lives. After being notified of the settlement, the court agreed to halt the auction. It will be officially canceled once Xiao actually picks up his pet.
As for why he left his dog at a kennel for nearly four years, Xiao has explained that after dropping off Dengdeng he moved abroad, traveling between the US and Australia. During that time his Chinese cell phone number became deactivated and he lost the pet hotel’s number, so he was unable to contact them, or so he claims.