Macau greyhounds in government care as Angela Leong misses deadline for securing their future

Casino hub’s dog track closes for good on Saturday, with fate of more than 600 animals still in limbo

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 July, 2018, 2:28pm
UPDATED : Friday, 20 July, 2018, 11:15pm

More than 600 greyhounds have been taken into the care of the Macau government after one of the city’s most powerful women – who effectively owns the racing dogs – failed to come up with a plan to look after them.

The move came just 24 hours before Asia’s only legal dog track closes for good on Saturday, and follows months of bitter wrangling between animal rights activists and government officials in the world’s richest gaming hub.

The government announced on Friday that it had taken responsibility for the dogs. It said Angela Leong On-kei’s company had failed to provide a responsible solution for the canines despite knowing since early 2016 that its lease on the track would expire. On its website, it said the future of the dogs had been “in an uncertain state, causing public anxiety and social problems”.

Angela Leong handed ultimatum over future of Macau greyhounds

It added that the company would be punished under the Animal Protection Act and that the authorities would ensure the greyhounds receive adequate care. It did not elaborate on the condition or whereabouts of the animals or on its plans for them.

Leong – businesswoman, lawmaker and fourth wife of casino tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun – is the executive director of the company that operates the Macau Canidrome, and has long faced criticism from animal rights groups, who claim the dogs have been kept under cruel conditions.

Leong has repeatedly denied those accusations but has failed to respond to repeated requests for comment from the Post on the fate of the dogs.

She said on Friday afternoon that she would not hold a press conference, as she had earlier intimated she would.

“It is not quite appropriate to hold a press conference today because we have a lot more follow-up work to handle,” Leong told local media.

“In the coming few days we will disclose all documents about the company because we think the information we have at hand now is still not thorough enough.”

On July 9, Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department announced that it had struck a deal with the Macau authorities to speed up the process for Hongkongers who wanted to adopt the greyhounds.

Under the special measures, the dogs must still spend 120 days in quarantine as required at present. But instead of queuing up for quarantine centres in Hong Kong, which could mean a wait of four to five months, the greyhounds can spend the first 90 days in Macau’s pet shops or pet hotels, as long as they pass a health check and have been vaccinated against rabies and other infectious diseases.

The canines can then spend the last 30 days of the quarantine period with their new owners in Hong Kong.

The department said that applications for the special permit would close on August 31.