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Ousted South Korean president left her nine dogs behind in palace

Animal rights groups accuse Park Geun-hye of abandoning animals, but spokesman says they are being cared for by staff

It was hard to imagine that South Korea’s ousted president Park Geun-hye could get any more unpopular until she moved out of the presidential palace and left her nine dogs behind.

Days after being removed from office by the constitutional court over a corruption scandal, an animal rights group accused Park of abandonment for not taking her pets with her.

Parks neighbours had given her a pair of Jindos, a Korean breed of hunting dog, when she left for the presidential Blue House in 2013.

The dogs recently gave birth to seven puppies, which were considered too young to be separated from their mother, said a Blue House spokesman, Kim Dong-jo.

Kim said the dogs would remain at the presidential palace until they were old enough to be sent to new owners. Park told staff to take care of the dogs before leaving the Blue House on Sunday, he said.

But Kim Ae Ra, who leads the Korea Alliance for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said the group had filed a complaint with South Korea’s anti-corruption and civil rights commission over Parks treatment of the animals.

Park Geun-hye is seen with her pet dogs at the presidential Blue House in Seoul. Photograph: AP

The commission has since referred the incident to the National Police Agency. Officials from the police agency could not immediately confirm how the case would be treated.

It is unclear whether Park not taking the dogs with her qualifies as abandonment under South Koreas animal protection law, which defines lost or abandoned animals as those wandering without an owner in public places or left deserted in paper boxes or other containers.

Animal abandonment is punishable by a fine of up to 1m won (715). People who fail to report a change of ownership within 30 days also risk fines of up to 500,000 won.

Dog lovers have been expressing their anger on social media.

It seems Park Geun-hye is a person who entirely lacks empathy, whether its for humans or for animals, Park Jeong-eon, a 38-year-old office worker, said.

Parliament passed an impeachment motion against Park in December, and the court formally removed her from office on Friday.

Prosecutors plan to question her next week over suspicions that she colluded with a friend to extort money and favours from companies and allowed the friend to secretly interfere with state affairs.

Park has always denied any wrongdoing.








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