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Macau, Hong Kong reach deal to facilitate greyhound adoptions

Wed, 11th Jul 2018

The Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) announced in a statement Tuesday that it has reached an agreement with Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) for Hong Kong people to go through easier quarantine procedures than normal for the adoption of greyhounds from the Macau (Yat Yuen) Canidrome Co. Ltd.

Under the special arrangement for the greyhounds, the racing canines with Macau-issued export health certificates that have been taken to Hong Kong will not need to undergo Hong Kong’s statutory 120-day quarantine at its quarantine facility. Instead, the greyhounds will only need to undergo a 30-day home quarantine, according to the IACM statement.

The AFCD announced its agreement with the Macau government for the greyhounds on Monday night. The special arrangement aims to enable Hong Kong residents wishing to adopt greyhounds from the Macau racetrack to complete the procedures of importing the dogs into Hong Kong in due course, considering that there is only a short time left before the official closure of the greyhound racetrack on July 21, the AFCD said.

Meanwhile, the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) told local media outlets Tuesday that the greyhound racetrack operator finally submitted its new relocation plan for the dogs yesterday – the deadline required by the bureau. The bureau did not reveal details about the new relocation plan – already the third one submitted by the company, merely saying that according to the plan the company has requested permission from the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) to implement its dog relocation plan.

The IACM statement noted that to export dogs from Macau to Hong Kong, applicants must normally apply for a special permit from the AFCD. An applicant is only allowed to import a dog into Hong Kong upon successful completion of all official requirements.

According to the agreement, greyhounds to be imported into Hong Kong must be vaccinated against canine distemper, infectious canine hepatitis and canine parvovirus (also known as canine hemorrhagic enteritis), the IACM statement said.

The statement also said that the dogs must undergo blood tests for the rabies antibody level – at least 30 days after their vaccination for rabies – by the bureau for submission to an AFCD approved laboratory for testing.

The dogs must also undergo blood tests on the rabies antibody level conducted by the competent authorities in Macau for submission to an AFCD approved laboratory for testing, the IACM statement said.

If the antibody level meets the AFCD’s requirement, applicants will then need to arrange for the dogs to stay in Macau for at least 90 days after the blood test, the IACM statement said.

According to the statement, applicants will need to apply for a permit from the AFCD valid for six months by August 31 for importing greyhounds into Hong Kong. Before the greyhounds are exported to Hong Kong, applicants must obtain export health certificates issued by the bureau.

According to the IACM statement, after the dogs arrive in Hong Kong they will need to undergo home quarantine for at least 30 days.

The racetrack operator initially submitted its greyhound relocation plan on May 31 – the deadline – as required by the government. The proposal included the possibility of adoptions and moving the greyhounds to “foreign” countries. However, the company said in its proposal that it would need a year to complete the relocation. The government swiftly rejected the request.

In response, the bureau told the company to submit another proposal by June 8. That proposal – the second one that was submitted by the company on the last day of the deadline given by the government – included adoptions and also relocating greyhounds to somewhere outside Macau “in collaboration with organisations on the mainland”.

In July 2016, the government told the racetrack operator to vacate the property in Fai Chi Kei, a public land concession, within two years. The company’s concession to run greyhound racing will expire on July 20. The company is headed by gaming executive-cum-lawmaker Angela Leong On Kei, the wife of retired gaming mogul Stanley Ho Hung Sun.

According to the proposal submitted on June 8, the company asked to be allowed to use the Fai Chi Kei racetrack for three additional months, to give it more time to relocate the dogs, including moving some of them to the stables at the Taipa horse-racing track run by the Macau Jockey Club (MJC), which Leong also heads, and housing them there temporarily.

In response, the government has repeatedly said that there’s no way of allowing the greyhound racetrack operator to use the Fai Chi Kei property for an additional period of time to house the greyhounds that have not been adopted. The government has also said that the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau has not received an application from the operator for permission to move some of the greyhounds to the Taipa horse racing venue.