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Macau government nixes plan to house greyhounds next to old people’s home

Mon, 8th Oct 2018

About 500 greyhounds will stay for the time being in their kennels at the former racetrack in Fai Chi Kei as a provisional facility that Macau (Yat Yuen) Canidrome has controversially set up to house the dogs right next to a retirement home in Coloane has been rejected by the government for failing to meet the necessary criteria.

The company headed by legislator-cum-gaming executive Angela Leong On Kei had left the racing dogs at the Canidrome closed down in July.

Leong has said she is ready to pay for air transport to send the greyhounds to their adopters overseas. She even proposed previously to house the about 500 greyhounds in 11 private homes or in a vacant factory building. Those plans came to naught.

The Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) said in a statement on Saturday that its officials and those of the Environmental Protection Bureau (DSPA) again inspected Yat Yuen’s proposed greyhound relocation facility – which consists of dozens of shipping containers installed on an idle plot of farm land – next to the Asilo Vila Madalena old people’s home on Saturday. T

he officials concluded that the facility still did not meet the government’s noise insulation requirements. It was the second inspection in a week.

Saturday was the last day for Yat Yuen to remove its greyhounds from the ex-Canidrome, after the government had granted the company two previous extensions to find alternative kennels for the canines.

“As Yat Yuen could not take back the roughly 500 greyhounds from the [former] Canidrome, the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau will take legal action based on the Animal Protection Law,” the bureau said in a statement on Saturday evening, adding that the bureau would continue to look after the greyhounds at the ex-racetrack.

“Yat Yuen in 2016 already knew that it had to move out of the Canidrome on July 20 this year, there was absolutely enough time to plan and find a [suitable] place for the greyhounds to stay,” the statement said, adding: “But Yat Yuen had dragged its heels over the greyhounds matter and been unable to come up with a plan before its concession expired [on July 20], and on that day abandoned all its greyhounds at the Canidrome.”

The IACM statement also said that Yat Yuen had only come up with plans to take care of the greyhounds after having come under pressure by the bureau and civil society, therefore IACM officials granted the company another extension until October 6 (last Saturday) to find a suitable place to house the greyhounds – but to no avail.

“The Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau will take legal action against Yat Yuen for abandoning the animals, and will claim the costs of looking after the dogs,” the statement said.

According to the Animal Protection Law, the abandonment of an animal is punishable by between 20,000 and 100,000 patacas.

Yat Yuen’s plan to house the roughly 500 greyhounds in shipping containers installed on a narrow plot of land just a few metres from the Canossian-run retirement home in Coloane Village has sparked concerns over noise, stench, hygiene and other issues, with the home’s director Sister Ip Pui King, its elderly residents and their family members having petitioned the government repeatedly over the past few weeks to scrap the project as it could destroy the residents’ hitherto tranquil life in a bucolic environment in their twilight years.

Some family members have also expressed concern that the dozens of air-conditioned containers – each of which will reportedly house 4 greyhounds – could pose a fire hazard close to the retirement home, aside from possible sewage and drainage issues during torrential rain.

“Housing 500 dogs next to a home for the aged shows a shocking lack of respect for the elderly, which violates our city’s traditional Chinese family values,” one of the family members told.

The home houses about 80 senior citizens and some 20 staff members.