The around 500 greyhounds remaining in their original Canidrome kennels can still be adopted, irrespective of possible legal action by the government against Macau (Yat Yuen) Canidrome Co. Ltd., Anima President Albano Martins said Thursday.
Martins made the remarks on his Facebook page, adding the arrangement was based on a new deal reached between the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) and Yat Yuen.
Martins, the animal protection group’s prime mover, tendered his resignation on Monday. The board of directors of Anima is still to respond to Martins’ move, informed sources said yesterday.
The government on Saturday rejected Yat Yuen’s controversial plan to house the about 500 greyhounds in dozens of shipping containers right next to a retirement home in Coloane where about 80 senior citizens spend their twilight years in a tranquil and bucolic environment. The government said it did not approve the plan because the hastily installed facility failed to meet certain criteria such as measures to reduce noise.
Family members of the elderly residents have said that housing hundreds of greyhounds next to the home is a flagrant lack of respect for the elderly, considering likely noise and hygiene issues such as barking and dog waste odors.
Anima has been helping Yat Yuen look after the greyhounds after the company left the dogs in the Canidrome when the racetrack closed for good on July 20, even though the government had notified Yat Yuen about the impending closure two years ago.
The government said in a statement on Saturday that Yat Yuen had failed to find a suitable place to house the greyhounds, in spite of having granted the company two extensions, adding that it would take legal action against the company for animal abandonment, which is punishable by between 20,000 and 100,000 patacas per animal.
Martins said in a statement on his Facebook page that he met IACM President Jose Tavares Thutsday to discuss the ongoing predicament affecting the greyhounds.
According to Martins, the bureau has decided to keep allowing Anima access to the Canidrome so that its staff and volunteers can look after the greyhounds and “all the organisation process” with the help of Yat Yuen.
Martins said that both the bureau and Yat Yuen, which is headed by legislator-cum-casino executive Angela Leong On Kei, had agreed that possible litigation should not interfere with the ongoing process of finding adopters for the greyhounds.
“We have talked to both and they have talked also to each other,” Martins said, adding that this was “good news” as it meant that the greyhounds would still be put up for adoption no matter what happens in court.
On Saturday, the bureau is understood to have told Anima that its staff and volunteers would from now on be barred from looking after the greyhounds. Saturday was the deadline for Yat Yuen to find a suitable place other than the ex-Canidrome kennels for the greyhounds.
“Anima is in again, helping the adoption and organisation process, IACM will handle the Canidrome and Yat Yuen is committed to continue to pay the travel expenses [of the adopted greyhounds] to Europe and [the] USA,” Martins said.
The government has said that it plans to redevelop the ex-Canidrome in Fai Chi Kei district into an educational and recreational hub in the densely populated neighbourhood. However, concrete plans have still to be announced.