Representatives from the Macau (Yat Yuen) Canidrome Co. Ltd. Tuesday told the elderly living at an old people’s home in Coloane and their family members that the former racetrack’s 533 greyhounds will be their “temporary neighbours” until they have gone through the adoption procedures to be flown out of Macau to their new homes overseas.
The representatives, who declined to give their names or any contact details when asked by The Macau Post Daily, held a briefing yesterday about moving the greyhounds to a plot of land the company has rented next to the Asilo Vila Madalena retirement home, where several dozen ship- ping containers are currently being installed just metres away from thesenior citizens’ dormitories.
Another briefing is scheduled this Saturday at the elderly home.
About 50 elderly residents of the retirement home and their family members attended the briefing, where the representatives explained how adorable the greyhounds are – complete with a booklet of file photos showing greyhounds with people happily spending time outdoors and helping people with disabilities – as the home’s residents and their family members expressed concern about noise and hygiene issues possibly resulting from their provisional greyhound compound next door.
According to the representatives, the greyhounds usually sleep for at least 14 hours a day, usually waking up at about 8 or 9 a.m.
The representatives said that the greyhounds would be muzzled when out for walkies so they wouldn’t be able to bark, telling the elderly that they needn’t worry about canine noise.
The representatives insisted that the facility they are preparing is a temporary greyhound adoption centre, pointing out that the grey- hounds will only be there temporarily, with most of them having been adopted and only remaining at the centre until they are flown to the US, Europe, and Taiwan.
“So they are just going to be your neighbours temporarily,” one of the representatives said, adding that Yat Yuen targets to have the greyhounds there for “only” six to eight months.
However, the representative admitted that Yat Yuen couldn’t control the timing of the flights.
According to a recent TDM report, just 15 percent of the greyhounds are healthy enough to be adopted immediately.
According to the briefing, each shipping container will house four dogs and be air-conditioned.
There will be about 40 staff to manage the centre, and the waste disposal system will be cleaned every day.
One of the family members asked how Yat Yuen would take responsibility if any of the home’s residents fall ill from bacteria and parasites if the canine waste is not properly handled, the representatives said the residents or their family members would need to prove that the greyhounds were the cause of the illness.
“But we only have this concern when the greyhounds are here,” the family member said, also asking why Yat Yuen had failed to plan ahead as the government ordered the closure of the Canidrome in Fai Chi Kei over two years ago.
Another family member said that the arrangement was bad for the greyhounds and bad for the old people living there, with no choice now but to accept the arrangement.
“We’re already living far away from the city and other people, and now they’re doing this to us,” an elderly woman said at the brief- ing, with another saying, “Temporary can be a few months, it can be a few years. Who knows when they’ll be all adopted?”
Anima President Albano Martins told The Macau Post Daily Tuesday that his group would ensure that the greyhounds would not be muzzled.
“I cannot believe they told (the elderly home) that as this violates the law, sure it’s cruelty,” Martins said, pointing out that the best solution is to let the greyhounds stay in the former Canidrome kennels in Fai Chi Kei for one more year.
The Canidrome closed down on July 20 when 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 Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau
Initially, Yat Yuen planned to move the 533 greyhounds await- ing 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.
At least two greyhounds have meanwhile died, according to IACM announcements. However, yesterday’s Yat Yuen representatives still mentioned the original figure of 533 greyhounds.
The government plans to redevelop the former racetrack, which had been in business since 1963, into a complex for schools, sports and recreation.