Asilo Vila Madalena retirement home director Sister Ip Pui King said Thursday that she was ready, if necessary, to take the elderly residents with her to go and ask Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On for help to stop Macau (Yat Yuen) Canidrome from putting about 530 greyhounds on a plot of land just metres away from the old people’s dormitories.
Ip made the comments during a press conference at the retirement home in Coloane, when asked if she wanted the Chief Executive to intervene since the issue involves several government bureaus and none seem to want to take responsibility.
“We hope [the CE] can come over to see [the elderly]. If necessary, we can rent a van and take the elderly to go to ask him for help,” Ip said, adding, “We need to be considerate to the elderly.”
Ip said that it was “unjust” to the old people that Yat Yuen only contacted them after the company has installed several dozen shipping containers on the plot of land next to the retirement home that would be used as kennels for the roughly 530 greyhounds.
“It’s unjust how they treat the old people. It seems we can’t have a say,” Ip said.
According to the Macau Post Daily family members of elderly living at the retirement home said that the Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT) have confirmed that it has not granted a construction permit for Yat Yuen to develop the plot of land into a canine kennel and has ordered the suspension of the project, but construction was still going on yesterday.
According to Ip, when Yat Yuen finally contacted them, the company told them initially that it would be a “temporary greyhound adoption centre” that would last just six months, but now it would be about a year.
“Some greyhounds are old and some are sick, I have doubts that people would adopt them, and if they are not adopted, would that [centre] be their forever home?” Ip questioned.
She said that noise and hygiene were the main concerns due to the proximity of the kennels to the dormitories of old people who are susceptible to infections.
“The old people here spend all their life activities at the retirement home, they don’t get out of the compound, and with the kennels so close to the dormitories and our kitchen, it’ll really cause an impact,” Ip pointed out.
She urged the Social Welfare Bureau to support the old people and scrap Yat Yuen’s greyhound adoption centre there.
“If the Social Welfare Bureau could help us, we would be ever so grateful, because our voice is so small that it’s not enough to make an impact. And the old people don’t even have a voice,” Ip said.
The government ordered the closure of the Canidrome two years ago. When it closed down on July 20, 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.