Macau casino bigwig Angela Leong On Kei thinks she can do six times better than Cruella de Vil once Asia’s lone greyhound racetrack closes this summer.
The Macau (Yat Yuen) Canidrome is scheduled to close its gates forever on July 21, following years of waning interest by gamblers in the world’s top casino market. The venue, which has been running 12 races per night, five nights per week since 1963, was given a two-year notice of closure in July 2016 by local authorities.
As the clock ticks down, there are increased fears over the fate of the 600-odd greyhounds who currently ply their fleet-footed trade at the Candirome. Everyone from animal rights groups to former members of the rock group Queen have expressed fears that the Canidrome’s animals will be slaughtered, eaten or simply abandoned to an uncertain future.
Leong, who owns the company that runs the Canidrome, has dismissed alarmist tales of the dogs coming to a grisly end as a “smear.” Leong, who is also a Macau lawmaker, managing director of casino operator SJM Holdings and who holds an estimated personal net worth of $4.1b, told reporters this week that she had invited local animal protection group Anima to visit the track to see how the dogs are faring.
Anima’s chairman Albano Martins claims that efforts to find local homes for the animals resulted in only seven offers. As a result, some groups are trying to raise €5m to fund an effort to rehome the animals overseas.
But Leong (pictured) insists that there is no need for “other people” to get involved and that if no satisfactory local solution can be found, she herself “would take care of them all.” Leong suggested that many of her friends would be willing to help her out by taking in dogs themselves.
Leong is a very wealthy woman, and wealth attracts lots of ‘friends,’ but she’s dreaming if she thinks animal rights groups are buying her DIY adoption scheme. Even Cruella stopped at 101 Dalmatians, and she only wanted that many so she could make a coat from their hides.
So Leong is either trying to get a dog-themed head start on being an eccentric cat lady, or she just had that much cocaine lying around and doesn’t know any other way of getting rid of it. Expect animal activists to be watching this situation closely as the closing date draws nearer.