Lucky few greyhounds from House of Shame arrive in Hong Kong as fears rise for 500 in “fiasco”

Kathleen and Pat Trainor with Cognac

A greyhound from Macau’s House of Shame has arrived at the Clearwater Bay home of Pat and Kathleen Trainor after a successful adoption. The couple have named  her Cognac. Pat and Kathleen rescued three other greyhounds from the Canidrome in July and all have been placed in loving families in Hong Kong, Kathleen said. She is aware of approximately 25 dogs that have been adopted by Hong Kong residents. More than 500 greyhounds remain at the House of Shame, also known as the Canidrome, in circumstances Kathleen described as “in limbo”.

The couple regularly travel to Macau as volunteers to help the greyhounds left at the Canidrome.  The past few weeks with the greyhounds have been uncertain as the Macau government has gone to court against Angela Leong, billionaire proprietor of the House of Shame,  charging her with abandonment of the animals. The government has refused to allow Leong to transfer the dogs to a new facility in Coloane due to pressure from an Elderly Home nearby.

Pat, Kathleen and Cognac on the jetfoil back from Macau

Kathleen said from that time, no volunteers or Anima (the largest Macau animal charity) were allowed in the Canidrome and the IACM government body was “taking care of the dogs”.  Former staff and volunteers who knew the dogs were banned.  Kathleen fears that no one really knew the state of the dogs’ health and safety as the Canidrome was being well guarded, there was no open dialogue with the public and the IACM has limited resources to manage something of this scale.  “Everything suddenly went quiet.  It makes me nervous,” Kathleen said.

Albano Martins, President of Anima – “the one who was making things happen at the “Canidrome” –  resigned from this responsibility and said that he had “been sleeping with his seven year old and dangerous enemy for two months (Angela) after they were invited to work together”.  Albano said he never “expected the bullet to come from the side he was not expecting (the government)”.  The adoption programme, well underway under his guidance, came to a standstill.  “Again, the dogs are getting caught in the middle of what seems like an endless battle for their freedom, ” Kathleen said.  Suddenly, Anima and the volunteers have been invited back after a lot of pressure from many sides.  But the bottom line is that the dogs are still stuck in the Canidrome, which is old and does not have good ventilation or cleanliness.  “The whole situation is a fiasco.”  The government needs to focus on getting the dogs adopted as soon as possible. Those that are not adoptable should be moved to clean suitable premises.

Cognac in her bed at her new Clearwater Bay home

Pat praised Hong Kong’s AFCD for their support and professionalism.  The department has granted a Special Permit for all Hong Kong people adopting greyhounds. After three months of quarantine in Macau, the dogs are shipped to Hong Kong, where they have to spend one more month in house quarantine.  The AFCD officers meet the adopters and dogs at the Shun Tak Ferry terminal, accompany them to a local vet to get chipped and licensed then on to the home of their new owners.  “We have nothing but praise for the AFCD,” Pat said. “We will need them to allow another Special Permit for greyhounds to come to Hong Kong once adoptions start again.”   The Trainors said they will continue volunteering and doing whatever they can to help the Canidrome Greys.

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