Welcome to Charles Dickens world.
For a Saturday Flashback how about we take a look at the return of the debtor’s prison. First though the story wouldn’t be complete without looking at Germany. At least we are not losing our pooches to the tax man. Maybe our Rolls, but not our pets.
A family in Germany has been left brokenhearted after their pedigree pug, Edda, was seized by their town over unpaid debts and sold to a new owner in a controversial eBay transaction.
A wife and mother of three owed her town of Ahlen money, including some in unpaid pet taxes, and the city decided to seize her most valuable asset: Edda the dog.
The town then sold Edda to a new owner from a private account on eBay for just €750 ($853.53). Edda’s new owner, a police officer named Michaela Jordan, said she expected to pay twice that amount for the pedigree pup, BBC reports.
The situation became even more confusing when it was revealed that Jordan purchased the dog in December after speaking to a member of the Ahlen administration, because she was suspicious of the low price. After being assured that Edda was in good health, she went through with the purchase.
In another confusing element of the story, local media outlets originally reported that the town of Ahlen first considered seizing the wheelchair belonging to the disabled husband of Edda’s original owner, as it was first thought to be the most valuable asset the family owned.
More at Fox News
Now an update on how we are doing with non-payment of taxes for a flashback Saturday.
December 19, 2011 Bunkerville
More than a third of all states now allow borrowers who don’t pay their bills to be jailed, even when debtor’s prisons have been explicitly banned by state constitutions. A report by the American Civil Liberties Union found that people were imprisoned even when the cost of doing so exceeded the amount of debt they owed.
Judges have signed off on more than 5,000 such warrants since the start of 2010 in nine counties with a total population of 13.6 million people, according to a tally by The Wall Street Journal of filings in those counties. Nationwide figures aren’t known because many courts don’t keep track of warrants by alleged offense. In interviews, 20 judges across the nation said the number of borrowers threatened with arrest in their courtrooms has surged since the financial crisis began.
Federal imprisonment for unpaid debt has been illegal in the U.S. since 1833. It’s a practice people associate more with the age of Dickens than modern-day America. But as more Americans struggle to pay their bills in the wake of the recession, collection agencies are using harsher methods to get their money, ushering in the return of debtor’s prisons.
NPR reports that it’s becoming increasingly common for people to serve jail time as a result of their debt. Because of “sloppy, incomplete or even false documentation,” many borrowers facing jail time don’t even know they’re being sued by creditors.