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Turkmenistan's Pet-Hating President Sends Dog Owner To Prison

Turkmenistan Pet Hating Dictator

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 12/01/11 04:44 PM ET Updated: 12/01/11 05:19 PM ET

Turkmenistan's President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has long despised stray animals roaming the streets of Ashbagat.

But the president's hatred of animals reached a new high this month when a man accidentally walked his dog into an area restricted to members of the president's motorcade, according to The New Zealand Herald.

Surrounded by police and thrown to the ground, the man was taken to a local police station and given a choice between two weeks behind bars or having his dog shot.

Unwilling to part with his beloved pet, the man chose the prison sentence and, according to the Atlantic, used the one telephone call he was given to ask relatives to come pick up the dog.

Berdymukhamedov became president of Turkmenistan when his predecessor, Saparmurat Niyazov, died from a heart condition in 2006.

Since then, the president's distaste for animals has been well documented. In one instance recorded in U.S. Embassy cables obtained by WikiLeaks, Berdymukhamedov's bizarre disgust with four-legged creatures led to a security official being fired after the president thought a cat had tried to assassinate him.

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