Ousted South Korean leader ac­cused of aban­don­ing dogs

New Straits Times - - World -

SEOUL: It is hard to imag­ine that ousted South Korean Pres­i­dent Park Geun-hye could get any more un­pop­u­lar.

But, that was be­fore an an­i­mal rights group ac­cused her of an­i­mal aban­don­ment for leav­ing nine dogs at the pres­i­den­tial palace be­fore re­turn­ing to her pri­vate home af­ter a court re­moved her from of­fice over a cor­rup­tion scan­dal.

Park’s neigh­bours had given her a pair of Jindo dogs — a Korean breed of hunting dogs — when she left for the pres­i­den­tial Blue House in 2013.

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

Kim said the dogs would con­tinue to stay at the pres­i­den­tial palace un­til they’re ready to be sent to new own­ers.

Park had told staff mem­bers to take good care of the dogs be­fore va­cat­ing the Blue House on Sun­day, Kim said.

Kim Ae Ra, who heads the Korea Al­liance for the Pre­ven­tion of Cru­elty to An­i­mals, said the group filed a com­plaint with South Korea’s Anti-Cor­rup­tion and Civil Rights Com­mis­sion over Park’s dogs.

The com­mis­sion then asked the Na­tional Po­lice Agency to look at it. Of­fi­cials from the po­lice agency could not im­me­di­ately con­firm how the case would be treated.

It’s un­clear whether Park’s re­fusal to keep the dogs qual­i­fies as aban­don­ment un­der the coun­try’s 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 1 mil­lion won (RM3,387) in South Korea.

Peo­ple who fail to re­port an own­er­ship change in pets within 30 days can also face fines of up to 500,000 won.

Park will be ques­tioned next week over sus­pi­cions she col­luded with a friend to ex­tort money and favours from com­pa­nies. AP

An­i­mal aban­don­ment is pun­ish­able by a fine of up to 1 mil­lion won in

South Korea

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