Important update on the campaign to save the Macau Canidrome Greyhounds
We shall start by saying that there is much that cannot be written about as it is highly confidential, for obvious reasons. So what emerges from official information is only a small part of what is actually being done to save the dogs. This need for confidentiality stems not only from the delicacy of the situation but also from the need to protect those who are working in Macau.
The closure of the Canidrome that will take place on the 21st July was by no means a given: the Canidrome is owned by a powerful Chinese mafia triad, and without the tough campaign led by Albano Martins and Anima Macau, supported by GREY2K USA Worldwide, it would remain in business. Indeed, the license for horse racing has been renewed.
The reason why the Canidrome doesn’t want to give any dogs to Anima is because they believe that Anima is responsible for the closure of the track and therefore of having seriously damaged their business interests.
In our view, the only possible strategy to save the dogs at the moment is for Anima to be allowed to manage the space at the Canidrome for at least one year, in order to be able to care for them adequately and prepare them for adoption. This requires the intervention of the local government, which however has powerful conflicting interests, since it is obvious that ownership of the Canidrome carries with it huge political and financial power, and more.
The intervention of the government is essential not only to be able to manage the Canidrome space, but also to be able to recruit suitable staff for one year, because this requires a whole series of procedures related to staff recruitment and management.
This is the only possible strategy, because it is not possible to move the dogs from Macau without having first completed all the veterinary and bureaucratic procedures required for the transportation of dogs abroad, i.e. antirabies vaccination and all the relevant documentation. We’re talking about 4 months for healthy dogs, but inevitably longer if the dogs are not in good health.
Here you can find details of the latest proposals sent by Anima and the Save the Macau Greyhounds Committee to the government of Macau.
Since Macau is very small but very densely populated, there are no suitable spaces available to manage such a large number of dogs all together in conditions that would guarantee their safety and wellbeing. This is also the problem that the Canidrome is currently facing, as it will need to move out on the 21st July along with all the dogs still in its charge.
For this reason the Canidrome, which owns the vast majority of the dogs, is organising ‘Adoption Days’ – not auctions as has been inaccurately reported – open to all citizens of Macau, Hong Kong, and mainland China, but with all the legal obligations for the exportation of dogs, and relative costs. On the Adoption Day of Sunday 1st July, the Canidrome offered 90 dogs for adoption, all of them no longer racing. Any Chinese citizen present could apply for adoption via registration and could reserve one of these dogs. Obviously these candidates applying for adoption did not have to undergo any kind of selection to determine their suitability for adopting a greyhound, nor does the Canidrome plan to carry out any such checks. 87 dogs were reserved by potential adopters on 1st July.
According to the Institute for Civic and Municipal Affairs (IACM), none of the dogs who were reserved were handed over to the potential adopters on the day and they were all taken back to the Canidrome premises. The IACM will contact all potential adopters who have reserved a dog from the 5th July onwards in order to complete the paperwork related to the transfer of ownership.
According to the Canidrome, the IACM received a total of 127 adoption forms from the Adoption Days: 72 filled in by local residents of Macau, 39 by Hong Kong residents, 15 by residents of Mainland China and one by a Taiwan resident.
The dogs will not be able to leave the Canidrome until all the procedures related to the transfer of ownership and all the bureaucratic and veterinary obligations required by law have been completed by the authorities. Only at that point will the dogs be handed over to their future owners, whatever the intentions of these might be in that respect. Obviously some will end up in good hands and some not, but the responsibility for this will lie exclusively with the Canidrome and the government of Macau. Anima and Albano Martins are currently working on initiatives at various levels to prevent the dogs from being sent to China.
It’s important to bear in mind that potential adopters from Hong Kong who have taken part in these ‘Adoption Days’ run by the Canidrome will not be able to take the dog back to Hong Kong before having completed the required anti rabies and quarantine procedures (about four months).
In addition, citizens of mainland China will only be able to adopt one of these greyhounds if they are in possession of the authorisation certificate for importation released by the relevant authorities, because greyhounds are among the breeds banned in many cities in mainland China.
It is also important to clarify that the dogs are not for sale and cannot be bought, and the organisations leading the Save the Macau Greyhounds campaign would not have chosen that path anyway, even if they had been. Since our aim is to save all the dogs or at least most of them, it would not only be economically unfeasible to buy them all but also morally unacceptable to do so, given that the Canidrome is in the hands of the Chinese mafia. And anyway it would not resolve the problem of where to house all these dogs for all the time required to bring them back to full health, prepare them for transport (sterilisation, vaccinations, antirabies procedure, titre blood tests, veterinary and customs paperwork, ecc), and organise their transportation to Europe and the USA.
The transport operations themselves are highly complex in terms of organisation, logistics and costing, because we will need to move many large breed dogs over long distances in conditions of comfort and safety.
At present it is impossible to predict how many dogs will not be assigned by the Canidrome to potential applicants, and therefore we cannot say how many dogs will be handled by Anima, beyond those who have already been saved and are now safe thanks to the direct or indirect actions of Anima: Garlic, Loki, Magic, Honor, Another Grace (now Hope), Brighten Righ (now Joaquim), Oyster Cookies, Lovely Root, Loren Plath, Punk Dos, City Hunter (Jack), and 7 more that we cannot name at present but whose details we shall disclose as soon as possible.
In that sense it is important to clarify exactly what the role of our association is in this campaign. Pet Levrieri Onlus (Onlus: Registered Charity in Italy) launched the campaign Save the Macau Greyhounds alongside Anima and GREY2K USA Worldwide, and manages all aspects of it together with them.
We also have the main role in coordinating the transport and rehoming plan for the whole of Europe (including the UK), albeit via prior consultation with Anima and GREY2K USA Worldwide for all decisions.
Our first duty is to manage the transports for Europe and the distribution of the dogs to the refuges in Europe who have joined our campaign, who number more than 30 at present.
On that topic we would like to point out that thanks to the extraordinary and delicate work done by Christine Dorchak, the Board of GREY2K USA and some of GREY2K USA’s generous and compassionate supporters, negotiations are currently underway with a few airline companies for their help with transports to Europe and the USA.
In Europe we have already selected the destination airports and the refuges are ready to take the dogs and organise their rehoming, obviously all in strict adherence to the regulations for the international movement of animals.
Our second duty is to find homes in Italy for some of the Macau greyhounds: we have committed to taking 60 dogs.
Our third duty is to collect funds to help save the dogs: for details on what these funds are required for and how they will be used as well as for updates on the Appeal itself, please click on this link: https://www.gofundme.com/helpthemacaugreyhounds.