The Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) said in a statement that it is studying a greyhound relocation proposal submitted by Macau (Yat Yuen) Canidrome Co. Ltd. thursday evening which proposes to relocate the dogs left behind at the Fai Chi Kei racetrack to a “vacant” building on a privately-owned plot of land in Pac On in Taipa.
According to the statement, Yat Yuen has applied to take back the greyhounds left at the racetrack’s kennels so that it can relocate the dogs.
Yat Yuen had not relocated the majority of its greyhounds before the official closure of the Fai Chi Kei racetrack last Friday night and simply left them there. Consequently, the bureau was forced to intervene in the matter, taking over the racetrack’s kennels and looking after the greyhounds. Several local animal protection groups have been assisting the bureau in taking care of the canines.
The bureau has said that 533 greyhounds were left behind at the racetrack’s kennels.
After the bureau confirmed at midnight last Friday night the abandonment of the greyhounds by Yat Yuen, it ordered the company to take back the dogs within seven working days. Otherwise the company would have been officially regarded as having abandoned the dogs, and it would also have been fined between 20,000 and 100,000 patacas for each abandoned dog, according to the Animal Protection Law.
Yat Yuen’s abandonment of the greyhounds at the Fai Chi Kei racetrack sparked a public outcry in Macau and overseas.
According to IACM statement, Yat Yuen says in its relocation plan that the building at Pac On will still need to be renovated before the greyhounds can be suitably housed there.
In its application, the company says that it is, therefore, asking the bureau to give it an additional 60 days before taking back the greyhounds left at the Fai Chi Kei racetrack, the statement said. The company says that it will take back “all the greyhounds” and house them in the building in Pac On when its renovation is completed, the statement said.
Yat Yuen also says in its application that it will take care of the greyhounds and arrange for their adoptions, in collaboration with an animal protection group, the statement said, which did not reveal the name of the group.
Tinna “Zoe” Tang, a board member of local animal protection group Anima, told reporters at the Fai Chi Kei racetrack yesterday afternoon that that her group and Yat Yuen will jointly host a press conference today to announce a greyhound relocation plan. She said that under the plan the 533 greyhounds left at the racetrack’s kennels will be relocated to a venue in Taipa where the group and Yat Yuen will jointly take care of the dogs.
Tang said she believed that local animal protection activists will accept the new relocation plan.
According to IACM statement, Yat Yuen pledges that it will bear all the costs resulting from the bureau’s temporary taking-care of the greyhounds at the Fai Chi Kei racetrack.
The statement said that the bureau was “happy” to see that Yat Yuen is now willing to bear its responsibility to take care of the greyhounds.
The bureau said in the statement that it will study and assess the company’s new relocation plan in line with the Animal Protection Law, adding that it will announce its decision in due course.
The statement noted that the bureau is temporarily looking after the about 500 greyhounds in the racetrack’s kennels, being assisted by volunteers from several local animal protection groups. The statement said that the ongoing task to look after the dogs was going on “smoothly” and that the dogs were in “normal” health condition.
Civic leaders have strongly slammed Yat Yuen for deliberately abandoning its greyhounds at the Fai Chi Kei racetrack and passing its duty of taking care of the dogs to the bureau, considering that the government told the company two years ago that it must vacate the property before July 21, 2018.
Last week, Yat Yuen requested to transfer the responsibility of taking care of the greyhounds to the bureau, based on Article 17 of the Animal Protection Law, which states that if the owner of an animal cannot continue to feed it or cannot transfer it to others, he or she can pass the animal to the bureau but needs to bear the costs of its food and shelter. The article also states that the owner will no longer hold possession of the animal after he or she passes it to the bureau.
Yat Yuen insisted at that time that the greyhounds were “part of the assets” for its concession to run greyhound racing that should revert to the government following the expiration of the dog-racing concession at midnight last Friday night.
In response, the bureau steadfastly rejected the request, saying that Article 17 is not applicable to the case of the racetrack operator, which, the bureau insisted, has the duty to house and take care of the dogs.
According to The Macau Post Daily both Yat Yuen and the Macau Jockey Club are headed by gaming executive-cum-legislator Angela Leong On Kei, the fourth wife of retired nonagenarian casino mogul Stanley Ho Hung Sun. Leong has told reporters that she “loves” the Canidrome’s greyhounds which she described as the “happiest dogs in the world”.