Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) President Jose Fonseca Tavares said Sunday that his bureau has launched the legal procedures to fine the operator of the former greyhound racetrack – Macau (Yat Yuen) Canidrome Co. Ltd. – for its abandonment of some 500 greyhounds at the Fai Chi Kei racetrack and that it plans to fine the company 50,000 patacas for each abandoned dog.
Accordingly, the company faces a fine of around 25 million patacas.
Tavares made the remarks while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the annual “Walk for a Million” charity event in Nape.
Yat Yuen – headed by legislator-cum-gaming executive Angela Leong On Kei – had not relocated the large majority of its greyhounds before the official permanent closure of the Fai Chi Kei racetrack on July 20 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. At that time, 533 greyhounds were left behind in the closed racetrack’s kennels.
After the bureau confirmed at midnight on July 20 the abandonment of the greyhounds by Yat Yuen, it ordered the company at that time 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 canine in line with the Animal Protection Law.
In late July, the bureau approved a request by Yat Yuen for it to be granted an additional 60 days before taking back the greyhounds left behind at the Fai Chi Kei racetrack after its July 20 closure for good, as the bureau considered the company’s then latest greyhound relocation plan to be “feasible”. Initially, the new deadline for Yat Yuen to remove the greyhounds from the racetrack’s kennels would have been September 29.
Initially, Yat Yuen planned to move the then 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. None of the two relocation plans got off the ground. However, Tavares told reporters in the middle of August that his bureau had received another greyhound relocation plan from Yat Yuen earlier that month, according to which the company planned to move the dogs to an “agricultural” plot of land in Coloane. Later, it emerged that the plot was a piece of land right next to the Asilo Vila Madalena retirement home in Coloane.
Since early September, representatives of the retirement home had petitioned the government a number of times, urging it to stop Yat Yuen from moving the then about 500 greyhounds to temporary kennels – shipping containers – just a few metres away from their home, due to hygiene and noise concerns.
Several days before the initial September 29 deadline, the bureau announced that it had decided to approve another seven-day extension for Yat Yuen before relocating the greyhounds left behind at the racetrack, due to the impact of Super Typhoon Mangkhut – which pummelled Macau on September 16 – so that the installation of the facilities on the “agricultural” plot of land in Coloane to be used to house the dogs had been delayed – the plot next to the Asilo Vila Madalena retirement home. The then new deadline would have been October 6.
Finally on October 6, the bureau announced that the then about 500 greyhounds would stay for the time being in the former racetrack’s kennels as the facilities set up by Yat Yuen to house the dogs right next to the retirement home were rejected by the government for failing to meet the necessary criteria. The bureau said at that time that it would take legal action based on the Animal Protection Law and that it would continue to look after the greyhounds at the ex-racetrack.
The bureau also said at that time that it would claim the money spent on looking after the dogs from the company.
Speaking to reporters , Tavares said that his bureau has already launched legal procedures for fining Yat Yuen for its abandonment of the greyhounds and that it plans to fine the company 50,000 patacas for each abandoned dog in line with the Animal Protection Law.
Tavares also said that about 100 greyhounds have already been sent oversees for adoption and therefore 415 dogs were still in the former racetrack’s kennels awaiting adoption. However, a volunteer who visits the ex-Canidrome every day told The Macau Post Daily last night that the number of greyhounds at the old kennels stood at 403 yesterday.
Tavares also said that Yat Yuen had recently reimbursed his bureau for looking after the dogs between July 20 closure and last month, amounting to over four million patacas.
Tavares urged the company to continue to take up its corporate responsibility to bear the cost of his bureau having to look after the dogs.
Meanwhile, also speaking to reporters on the sidelines of Sunday’s “Walk for a Million”, Leong said that she was not aware of the possible imposition of the fine and that all related matters were being handled by her company’s lawyers. When asked if her company would appeal the bureau’s decision to impose the fine, she replied that the matter would be handled by her company lawyers.