Former presidents may love their dogs but they still require government financial support to keep the love story going. Moon Jae-in, a former South Korean president, puts the conservative successor in the hot seat by accusing him of providing a lack of financial support for two state dogs, forcing him to give the animals up.
Jae-in was gifted the two white Pungsan hunting dogs from Kim Jong Un after their peace summit in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang in September 2018. The dogs are officially considered state property.
Jae-in was ready to leave the office but he wasn’t ready to part ways with the dogs. He took the pair and one of their seven offspring home after he left office. An amendment in the law worked in his favor when it states that presidential gifts can be managed outside of the Presidential Archives if they were animals or plants.
However, Jae-in’s office said he decided he could no longer provide care for the three dogs because the current government of President Yoon Suk Yeol was refusing to cover the costs of the animals’ food and veterinary bills. The Ministry of the Interior and Safety said that the dogs were returned to the government and that the parent dogs were being examined at a veterinary hospital in the city of Daegu.
In a Facebook statement, Jae-in’s office accused Yeol’s office of blocking the ministry’s proposal to provide government funds for the animal’s care. “It seems that the presidential office, unlike the Presidential Archives and the Interior and Safety Ministry, has a negative view about entrusting the care of the Pungsan dogs to former President Moon,” Jae-in’s office said.
“There would be disappointment and regrets as they were companion animals (Moon) grew attached to, but there would be no way to reject the termination of entrustment,” it added.
Yeol’s office defended themselves by saying it never prevented him from keeping the animals and that the discussions about providing financial support are still on the table.
While the politicians mix politics with dogs, people are expressing frustrations that animals were being treated only as properties.