Family members of elderly people living at Asilo Vila Madalena retirement home in Coloane and its director Ip Pui King went to the Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT) and Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) Monday to ask the government to stop Macau (Yat Yuen) Canidrome from moving 531 greyhounds to a plot of land just metres away from the elderly women’s dormitories.
Yat Yuen last week told the elderly home that they would build a greyhound adoption centre there and the greyhounds would be their neighbours, after having already installed several dozen shipping containers on the plot which will be used as the canines’ kennels.
In a letter to the two bureaus, the family members questioned why the government had condoned Yat Yuen for not handling their greyhounds’ relocation issue over the past two years but now allowed the company to install a kennel next to the old people’s home in just one month, without any consultations.
The government has ordered the closure of the Canidrome in Fai Chi Kei over two years ago.
“This is proof that the government is bowing down to the rich and the powerful, and bullying the weak,” the letter said.
According to The Macau Post Daily the letter asked the government to stop the construction and scrap the arrangement where Yat Yuen will move its 531 greyhounds there from the Canidrome in Fai Chi Kei.
“Please respect the elderly people who have made contributions to society, give them back the peace and quiet they once had at the elderly home, to let them live in peace and quiet in the final years of their lives,” the letter said.
The elderly home’s director and family members decided to ask the bureaus stop the construction after Yat Yuen could not provide solutions to the family members’ concerns about the noise, smell and hygiene of the adoption centre, due to its proximity to the dormitories of the old people’s home that houses about 80 elderly women.
The Canidrome closed down on July 20 and the fate of the greyhounds left behind in its kennels made global headlines.
The government has said that the greyhounds must be moved to another location by September 29 at the latest, following a 60-day extension granted by the IACM.
Initially, Yat Yuen planned to move the roughly 500 greyhounds awaiting adoption to a vacant factory in Pac On in Taipa. Later, the company proposed to move them to 11 private homes. Anima later proposed to move the canines to a plot in the Concordia Industrial Park in Coloane. None of the former relocation plans got off the ground.
The government plans to redevelop the former racetrack, which had been in business since 1963, into a complex for schools, sports and recreation.