The head of a South Korean animal shelter underwent police questioning Thursday over allegations she put down some 250 abandoned pets while ostensibly advocating for animal rights and pocketing donations.
Park So-yeon, chief executive of the Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth, appeared at the Jongno Police Station in central Seoul at around 10 a.m.
Police are questioning Park for the first time since they launched a probe into the allegations two months ago.
She is accused of instructing her staff to administer lethal drugs to the stray pets at her shelter and having buried a number of them between 2015 and last year.
Park is also suspected of embezzling money from CARE sponsors and keeping it for her personal use, such as real estate purchases and insurance payments, among others.
She held a press conference in January and apologized for the unauthorized killing of the pets, but claimed the killings were necessary and done out of mercy as the animals were too sick or aggressive to be kept in the facility.
The controversy has stirred public anger, as CARE had an image as an activist organization dedicated to protecting animal rights.
Its rescue work became highly publicized for carrying out operations at dog farms and saving the dogs from being slaughtered or raised for fighting. The media has dubbed Park "the Queen of Rescues."
Despite the controversy, Park pledged not to resign from her post, citing "concerns over a power struggle by former workers."
More than 1,000 CARE sponsors have withdrawn their support, according to the organization. (Yonhap)