Authorities in the gambling hub of Macau have taken under their care more than 500 greyhounds abandoned by the operator of the city's dog-racing track after it closed.
The Canidrome Club, owned by one of the city's most powerful women Angela Leong, was until its shutdown Asia's only legal dog-racing track.
The track, established in 1931, had long faced criticism from animal rights groups, who said the greyhounds were treated cruelly and sometimes put to death after a losing streak.
But the closure of the track in the semi-autonomous Chinese city had also raised fears over the fate of the dogs.
The government's move follows a long wrangle between campaigners and billionaire Leong, a lawmaker in Macau and the fourth wife of gambling mogul Stanley Ho, who has denied the accusations of inhumane treatment.
The Macau government said in a statement on Saturday the 533 greyhounds were in "normal health condition". They were being cared for by government specialists and volunteers from animal rights groups, including Macau-based Anima, which had called for an end to dog-racing.
The government last week slammed Leong's company Yat Yuen for delaying efforts to find new homes for the dogs, saying it acted irresponsibly.
It said the company could be punished under the Animal Protection Law.
Anima estimated that some 70 dogs died or were killed in 2016 due to injuries, illnesses or for underperformance, the South China Morning Post
has reported.Last updated: July 22 2018 02:22 PM