eBay has cancelled its plans to allow live pets to be sold on its website following a bombardment of complaints from users.

The Internet auction house received thousands of irate emails after word got out that the company would allow people to sell dogs, cats and other pets online to the highest bidder.

In a posting in the community area of the site, http://forums.ebay.com/db1/thread.jspa?threadID=1000164235&start=2400 an eBay manager revealed that the company was considering lifting the ban.

“We are hoping to launch a Live Pets Classified Format early next year. The listings would not be transactional and there would only be a listing fee. We are also looking into allowing non-profit animal shelters to list animals for adoption for free.

"I would love to know what our active community members think about this new category. We are also considering Pet Services in this format as well - grooming, walking, etc.”.

The move, if it had gone ahead would have been a complete u-turn on its long-term policy to ban the sale of live animals except fish and snails, and prompted letters from more than 3000 people, most of whom urged that the ban remain.

A company spokesman, Hani Durzy explained, users were concerned that the listings would encourage unsanitary "puppy mills", where animals are sometimes bred in less-than ideal conditions, and that it might prove difficult working out legitimate animal shelters and the get-rich-quick scamsters.

"The feedback was pretty overwhelming", Durzy admitted.

One contributor to the posting said probably what most people were thinking:

“If Ebay do go ahead with this scheme, I'll NEVER USE EBAY AGAIN!”