Operator wants to keep Canidrome kennels for 4 more months – applies to house dogs at Jockey Club

2018-07-12 08:00     Comment:1

The operator of the city’s greyhound racetrack – Macau (Yat Yuen) Canidrome Co. Ltd. – has applied to use the kennels at the Fai Chi Kei property for an additional 120 days after the official closure of the racetrack on July 21, for the company to be able to complete the relocation of the dogs, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) said in a statement yesterday.

The racetrack operator made the request in a letter submitted to the gaming regulator on Tuesday, the deadline required by the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) for the company to submit a new relocation plan for the dogs which have not been adopted.

According to the statement, Yat Yuen applied for the 120-day extension for it to use the racetrack’s kennels. The company pledged to complete the dogs’ relocation process within the 120-day period, the statement said.

Yat Yuen held its last races on June 30.

The Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau told local media outlets on Tuesday night that it finally received a reply from the greyhound racetrack operator earlier that day about its latest proposal for the dogs’ relocation. The bureau on Tuesday night did not reveal any 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 to implement its dog relocation plan.

According to yesterday’s DICJ statement, Yat Yuen requested permission from the gaming regulator to use the stables at the Taipa horse-racing track run by the Macau Jockey Club (MJC) to temporarily house the greyhounds there that have still not been adopted.

Yat Yuen and the MJC are both headed by gaming executive-cum-lawmaker Angela Leong On Kei, the fourth wife of retired nonagenarian casino mogul Stanley Ho Hung Sun.

The statement reiterated that the government already told the dog-racing company in 2016 to vacate the Fai Chi Kei racetrack no later than July 20, 2018.

The statement noted that the use of the plot where the greyhound racetrack is located will no longer be used for dog-racing activities after July 20, adding that the use and management of the government-owned plot of land is not overseen by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. The DICJ statement said that the bureau will therefore transfer Yat Yuen’s request to the government entity overseeing the city’s land use.

Concerning Yat Yuen’s request for the dogs to be relocated to the MJC Taipa racecourse, the statement said that such request concerns a change in the permissible use of the plot where the horse-racing track is located, adding that such a request needs to be submitted by the Macau Jockey Club to the entity overseeing the city’s land use – understood to be the Lands, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT) which was not mentioned in the statement.

The statement also said that such a request would also need to get the green light from the government entity overseeing the city’s animal protection – understood to be the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau which was not mentioned in the statement either.

By late last night there was still no announcement from Yat Yuen detailing its new relocation plan.

Yat Yuen initially submitted its dog relocation plan on May 31 – the initial 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 Civic and Municipal Affairs 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 greyhound 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.

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 Macau Jockey Club stables in Taipa and housing them there temporarily.

In response, the government has repeatedly said that there’s no way to allow 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. 

Before Yat Yuen started its adoption process last month, the Canidrome kennels reportedly comprised around 600 greyhounds.
According to animal rights activists, about 150 of the racing dogs have meanwhile been adopted, or are in the process of being adopted.

According to “O Jogo em Macau” (“Gaming in Macau”), a book published by the Macau government’s gaming regulator in 1985, the city’s greyhound races started on September 28, 1963. The dog-racing company went through various ownership and shareholder changes in the next decades. In the 1980s, Yat Yuen paid the government 200,000 patacas annually for the land concession, according to the book.

According to DICJ statistics, Yat Yuen recorded a gross gaming revenue (GGR) of 11 million patacas and a betting turnover of 52 million patacas in the first quarter of this year. Yat Yuen’s GGR accounted for 0.001 percent of the gaming sector’s total GGR of 76.75 billion patacas in the first quarter.

Punters watch greyhounds being paraded at the dog racetrack in Fai Chi Kei on June 30 when the operator held its last racing day. Photo: Maria Cheang Ut Meng


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