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Ousted South Korean leader Park Geun-hye moved out of the presidential home over the weekend.
She returned to her private home in the Gangnam area of Seoul, the capital.
But, Park left behind her nine pet dogs at the presidential Blue House.
Now, animal rights groups are accusing Park of animal abandonment.
The Busan Korea Alliance for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals published the accusation on Twitter. The alliance said it brought the incident to the attention of police.
It and other animal rights groups in South Korea have offered to help find new homes for the nine dogs. They are Jindos, a Korean breed of hunting dog known for their loyalty.
Park was given two Jindos in 2013. The dogs, whose names mean ‘New’ and ‘Hope’ in English, became famous on the internet. Park would often post photographs of herself with them on her Facebook page.
The two dogs had seven puppies earlier this year.
A Blue House spokesman said that Wednesday that Park left the nine dogs at the presidential palace because the puppies are still too young to be separated from their mother. He said the dogs would stay there until the puppies are ready to be sent to new owners.
“She [Park] told Blue House staff to take good care of the dogs and to find good foster homes for the puppies if necessary,” the spokesman added.
It is not clear whether Park’s decision to not take the dogs with her can be considered animal abandonment under South Korean law. The country’s animal protection law defines lost or abandoned animals as those “wandering without an owner in public places” or “left deserted in paper boxes or other containers.” Anyone charged with animal abandonment faces a fine of up to 1 million won, or $873.
On social media, people have been reacting to Park’s decision to leave the dogs. Many people were angry.
Park Jeong-eon, a 38-year-old office worker, told the Associated Press, “It seems that Park Geun-hye is a person who entirely lacks empathy, whether it’s for humans or for animals.”
South Korean lawmakers voted to impeach Park Geun-hye last December. They found she had worked with a close friend to pressure large Korean businesses to donate huge amounts of money to two organizations.
The Constitutional Court officially removed her from office last Friday.
South Koreans will elect a new president on May 9.
And that's What's Trending Today.
Words in This Story
abandonment - n. the act of leaving and never returning to someone who needs protection or help
breed - n. a particular kind of dog, cat, horse, etc.
foster home - n. a home where for a period of time a child (or animal) lives and is cared for by people who are not the child's parents or the animal's owners
wander - v. to move around or go to different places usually without having a particular purpose or direction
empathy - n. the feeling that you understand and share another person's experiences and emotions