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Park’s abandonment of pet dogs causes uproar

By Choi Ha-young
Former President Park Geun-hye plays with her pet Jindo dogs at the residence in Cheong Wa Dae in September last year. / Courtesy of Joint press corp

Former President Park Geun-hye may face a lawsuit for allegedly abandoning her dogs that she used to look after at the presidential residence.

An animal rights group filed a complaint with the prosecution, Monday, to investigate Park’s alleged violation of the Animal Protection Law.

One day after the former head of state returned to her private home in southern Seoul following the Constitutional Court’s ruling, a Cheong Wa Dae official told reporters she had not taken her nine dogs.

Another animal rights group Care said it is willing to look after the dogs until they find new families. “If her pets are sent to animal shelters, this will cause another problem,” the group said in a release.

The Jindo dog family was dubbed the “First Dogs,” as a favorite of the former president. She was given two Jindo dogs named Hope and Saerom in 2013 when entering the presidential office.

Park boasted of her affection toward the Korean indigenous breed. When her dogs had a litter of five puppies, she collected the newly born puppies’ names through social media — Peace, Unification, Geumgang, Halla and Baekdu. The five puppies were given away and the two original dogs recently gave birth to seven more puppies which are still in Cheong Wa Dae.

“Leaving behind nine Jindo dogs, a human returned home alone,” People’s Party Chairman Park Jie-won, who is from the southern island of Jindo, said on Facebook, Tuesday. “Some people cannot hold a candle to dogs in regards to fidelity.”

Park had posed herself as an animal lover, saying “they don’t betray their owners.” In contrast to her emphasis on loyalty, she drew flak for remaining silent on the deaths of her supporters at a rally last Friday while struggling to defend herself after the top court’s ruling to uphold her impeachment.

Further, she allegedly insisted on having a dog as the mascot for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games, after her pets. The attempt to replace the initial bear mascot fell apart due to opposition from the International Olympics Committee (IOC).

The dogs made appearances at the beginning of the influence-peddling scandal which ultimately led to her impeachment. When the media raised suspicions around her confidants in 2014, Park refuted saying “if there were confidants, the Jindo dogs would be them.”

Chung Yoo-ra, daughter of Park’s confidant Choi Soon-sil, once wrote on social media, “The president is not good at feeding dogs.”


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