Macau (MNA) – The head of the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM), José Tavares, said on Thursday he believed that by April of next year all remaining greyhounds at the Canidrome would have been relocated.
“At the moment, we have 375 greyhounds at the Canidrome. Some 100 will go to the US in December and January. Afterwards, they will be sent to Europe. I think the whole issue should be solved by April,” Tavares said today at the sidelines of the 19th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Macau SAR ceremony.
According to information provided by animal rights group Anima – which has managed the relocation and adoption of the greyhounds – on his Facebook page on Wednesday, there are currently 363 greyhounds at the Canidrome – from an initial 532 – with some 159 already relocated to new homes.
The organisation also stated that of the previous number of greyhounds, 10 had died, with Anima hoping by April, 2019, all would be allocated with the exception of some who would have to wait to be sent abroad: around 45 to Australia, one to New Zealand, and three to Singapore.
Tavares also stated that Macau (Yat Yuen) Canidrome Co. Ltd. – the company that operated the Canidrome – had not yet officially contested the IACM decision to fine it for animal abandonment.
“We have not yet received opposition from the Canidrome. They are trying to gather more information on our position and views. We will try to respond to them,” Mr. Tavares said.
Operated by Yat Yuen since 1963, the Canidrome racetrack closed doors after more than 50 years in operation on July 20 of this year, as the gaming exploration concession granted to company came to an end.
The IACM had extended the deadline for the company to reclaim the greyhounds until October 6. However, after deciding that the site suggested by Yat Yeun to relocate the greyhounds, Coloane village, did not fit its requirements, the IACM decided to proceed with the sanctions defined by law.
Fines for animal abandonment under the current Animal Rights Law can range between MOP20,000 (US$2,478) and MOP100,000 per dog, plus expenses incurred by the IACM in taking care of the dogs, with some 500 greyhounds having remained at the Canidrome upon the time of the decision in October.
The government has also recently revealed the plans for the future re-development plans for the Canidrome area, with an underground water reservoir for flood containment, a minimum of 400 parking spots, schools, government buildings, and extended sport facilities planned for the land plot.
He indicated during his 2019 Policy Address session at the Legislative Assembly that land for education installations in the area would be provided for Concordia School for Special Education, Escola para Filhos e Irmãos dos Operários/Lou Hau High School, Xin Hua School, and for the St Mary Magdalen Catholic School.