updated 12/20/2005 1:34:19 PM ET 2005-12-20T18:34:19

Internet auctioneer eBay Inc. canceled plans to allow pets to be sold on its Web site after receiving thousands of angry letters.

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The San Jose-based company has long banned the sale of live animals except fish and snails, and officials said Monday they were scrapping plans to create a separate classifieds category that would feature free ads from animal shelters and paid ads from breeders.

Over the weekend, an eBay manager revealed in a posting to an online message board that the company was considering lifting the ban, prompting letters from more than 2,000 users, most of whom urged that the ban remain, said company spokesman Hani Durzy.

Users were worried the listings would encourage “puppy mills,” where animals are sometimes bred in unsanitary conditions, and argued it would be difficult to determine whether a particular animal shelter was legitimate.

“The feedback was pretty overwhelming,” Durzy said. “Farms and for-profit commercial breeders wasn’t something that they wanted to see.”

Booming sales of pet supplies — and the possibility that users may want a pet listing service — had prompted the company to reconsider its ban on the sale of live animals, Durzy said.

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