Eight months after the closing of Macau Canidrome, the 532 greyhounds abandoned there were “reopened“, 517 were rescued and 15 died, according to the president of the Macao Animal Society.
“At the end of today, 517 greyhounds will have been relocated, 15 died … It was a super fast operation for this size,” said Albano Martins, before attending the exit of the last greyhounds from the canidromo, five of which they left for the United States.
Uncertainty has been dragging on since July last year when the canidrome closed its doors and the space-exploring company Greyhound Racing Corporation (Yat Yuen) was accused by authorities of abandoning 532 dogs.
In September, after Yat Yuen failed to file a repayment plan on schedule, which earned him a fine of 2.7 million euros a few months later, Anima took over space and had a “carte blanche” to “manage the whole process“.
“It was not easy, but we had an international network and this international network helped us immensely, we just had to lead the process locally, with our partners at the IAM and Yat Yuen,” he said.
The process of rehousing and adoption, which had global repercussions, was aided by 100 international organizations, which had long condemned the cruelty and mortality rate to which dogs were subject.
At the same time, Albano Martins admitted that the process “went fast” because Yat Yuen collaborated: “Let’s forget about the war of the past, Yat Yuen guaranteed the trips” and all operational costs, then “it was just a matter of planning“.
Angela Leong, then the manager of Yat Yuen, which belonged to the Macau Tourism and Entertainment Society (SJM), founded by the gambling mogul Stanley Ho, even promised a “unique international greyhound rehoming centre”, but the idea fell shortly afterwards.
“It was a victory for Anima, which became [an organization] considered world-wide … it took us eight years to put this track away, and only six months to rehome [the Greyhounds],“.
In 2016, the Macao Government gave two years to the city’s canidrome to relocate and improve the conditions of dogs used in racing or, ultimately, to close the runway, considered by international organizations one of the worst in the world.
For his part, the president of the IAM, José Tavares, was satisfied and considered this outcome “the best possible“, noting that “500 and such dogs adopted in half a year is work.” “The goal is attained,” he said.
“Anima has struggled, in a few months it solved [the problem] and that is work. There are 500 dogs and dogs adopted in half a year, I think that has never happened anywhere,” Tavares said in remarks to journalists in the canidromo.
The IAM will now return the spaces and facilities to the Macao Financial Services. However, the land is already reserved for educational purposes, and it is expected that space will be occupied by four schools.
In all, the costs, amounting to 70 million patacas (about 7.6 million euros) throughout the process, during which Albano Martins resigned.
Among the greyhounds, 307 will be sent to the US, 60 to Italy, 70 to the United Kingdom, 15 to France, five to Germany and 26 to Hong Kong, IAM said. Anima has adopted 23 greyhounds, 19 of which will stay with host families in Macao and later sent to Australia.