Macao (Yat Yuen) Canidrome Co. Ltd, the former operator of the city’s greyhound racing facilities controlled by legislator and SJM Holdings Co-Chairman Angela Leong, has been fined MOP$25 million (US$3.1 million) for abandoning dogs formerly under its care.
The Municipal Affairs Bureau confirmed the fine on Wednesday, stating that Yat Yuen had failed to rehome around 500 greyhounds under its care by the government’s 29 September 2018 deadline. The fine amounts to around MOP$50,000 (US$6,200) per dog and was implemented after an independent review was conducted by an officer within the city’s judiciary. According to Secretary for Administration and Justice, Chan Hoi Fan, the review focused on the circumstances of the offences, the company’s subjective intention and its acknowledgement of wrongdoing.
Yat Yuen is also required to continue to fund ongoing care for the dogs while they wait to be rehomed, with the company having paid an additional MOP$5 million as of December 2018, the Bureau revealed this week. Local animal welfare group Anima has been caring for the dogs since the racing facility was closed.
The Canidrome ceased operations last year following an ultimatum issued by the government in 2016 that it must either shut down or relocate by 20 July 2018 and that it needed to vastly improve its animal welfare standards should it choose to continue operations at a new location. Leong, confirmed in January 2018 that the venue would close down permanently. Yat Yuen was subsequently given around 60 days to rehome its more than 600 former racing dogs under strict conditions.
The Municipal Affairs Bureau revealed this week that 191 greyhounds have been rehomed between 15 October 2018 and 9 January 2019, including 180 to the United States, five to Italy and six locally. Another 310 remain waiting for new homes.