SEOUL, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Ousted South Korean President Park Geun-hye has left behind nine dogs, which were given to her as a gift when she took office four years ago, in the presidential Blue House since she moved to her private home on Sunday.
According to local newspaper Donga Ilbo's report Friday, Park was given two Jindo dogs, the South Korean breed of hunting dogs, as a gift by a neighbor when she entered the Blue House on Feb. 25, 2013.
The neighbor, who was living near Park's private home in the southern district of Seoul, gifted the Jindo dogs to Park in hopes that she could remove the deep-rooted regionalism in South Korea.
The dogs originate from the Jeolla province, the country's southwestern region, while Park has a political support base in the southeastern Gyeongsang province.
However, it was not a voluntary gift but a request by Park's then transition committee as part of efforts to create an image of the president uniting the rival regions.
The two dogs had recently given birth to seven puppies, but those were left behind in the Blue House when Park left the president complex for her private home on Sunday night.
Park vacated the complex two days after the constitutional court unanimously upheld a motion to impeach her on March 10. Park became the first South Korean leader to be removed from office by impeachment.
An animal rights group on Monday accused Park of abandoning pet dogs in violation of an animal protection law. The alleged abandonment caused searing criticism on the Internet.
It is not clear whether Park has violated the law. The presidential office was quoted as saying two Jindo dogs and two puppies were sent to an association to preserve the pure breed of Jindo dogs.
The other five puppies are reportedly waiting for new owners.