Most of the dogs are German Shepherds, a breed used by police departments around the world for their strength and intelligence — though there are a few Dutch Shepherd hybrids and Belgian Malinois on the auction list as well.
The 54 trainees failed to pass their program for a number of reasons, said the police academy — for instance, a number of them were “timid,” “weak” or “frail.” Some “don’t bite,” meaning they didn’t follow trainers’ instructions to attack targets; others “lacked athletic ability” or showed “low ability” to fetch items when thrown.
Each dog has a starting price of 200 yuan (about $30), with each bid increasing by a multiple of 50 yuan ($7.7) until the highest bidder wins.
Those who win the dogs are required to sign an agreement to follow government regulations for raising and caring properly for their dogs, said the police academy statement. They are forbidden from reselling the dogs or transferring them to another owner.
These dog auctions happen a few times a year — the police academy also held auctions for “failed” dogs in March and June this year. But this latest announcement for the July auction gained traction online, with the hashtag garnering 160 million views on the Chinese social media platform Weibo.
Many online users expressed sympathy and amusement for the rejected dogs, joking that they could relate to the experience of failing to meet others’ high standards.
“They are like the kids who fail to go to university after the gaokao and can only go to junior colleges,” joked another, referring to the country’s rigorous and infamous college entrance exam. A high score is the only way to get into top universities, and it only happens once a year — so most Chinese students only get one shot.
Others urged potential bidders to take the responsibility of adopting a pet seriously, and not to rush into an impulse decision. “Don’t abandon it, don’t abuse it, and be able to treat it well — if you can’t do it, don’t adopt it,” one Weibo user wrote.