A US animal rights group called on the South Korean government on Thursday to provide immediate care for nine dogs that ousted President Park Geun-hye left behind when she moved out of the presidential palace.
"Being left behind is frightening, confusing, and dangerous for dogs and other animals who depend on their human guardians for food, water, shelter, veterinary care, and all their other needs," said PETA Asia Vice President of International Campaigns Jason Baker in a statement.
"There is never an excuse for leaving behind animals who depend on us for survival," it added.
The statement came after the already unpopular former President Park was under fire for not taking her dogs with her when she moved into her private residence in southern Seoul on Sunday night.
The Constitutional Court ruled to remove her from office over a corruption scandal on March 10.
CARE, a Seoul-based animal rights group, offered to look after the nine Jindo dogs -- a Korean breed known for loyalty and devotion -- and find them new families, blasting Park for not being responsible.
A Busan-based animal rights group filed a complaint with the prosecution Monday, asking it to investigate Park's alleged violation of the Animal Protection Law.
The family of dogs consists of a male-female pair, which Park had received as a gift from her neighbours when she moved into the presidential residence in 2013, and seven puppies that were born in January.
In photos, including one posted on the Blue House's Facebook page, the former president was seen playing with the dogs.
S Korea President Park Geun-hye may have undergone various anti-aging medical procedures
Amid growing controversy, the presidential office said it would put up the nine Jindo dogs for adoption.
"We are mulling over how to put up a notice to receive applications to preserve their blood purity," an official from the Blue House was quoted as saying.