Animal welfare struggling amid Covid-19

An animal welfare charity in Macau says its adoption program and fundraising efforts have been hindered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Wing Lee, convener of Macao Animals’ Angels, said that her organization’s work has continued in spite of the pandemic situation. They have continued to rescue stray, mistreated or abandoned animals. However, with the adoption rate falling this year, the charity is running out of space to keep the animals before they can be adopted.
Fundraising is also on the decline as Macau has reckoned with a sharp contraction in the local economy.
“We can’t say how hard in terms of donations we have been affected by the pandemic,” said Lee. “Our fundraising depends on what types of incidents happen; whether it is animal rescue or animal medication and hospitalization.”
Overall, the group’s fundraising is conducted on a case-by-case basis. “If the case is more severe, usually we will get more donations,” Lee explained. “Compared with some similar old cases, this year’s cases have generated smaller donations. People who donated MOP500 before have shrunk their donations to MOP200, for example,” she said.
She added that the group is constantly in debt to veterinarians, mainly because it needs to send injured or ill animals it rescues for medical consultation. The group generally relies on donations to settle bills, although some vets are happy to work voluntarily.
Earlier this year, when the government was advising people to spend as much time at home as possible, the channels for animal adoption turned idle. To worsen the situation, the pandemic has also caused more people to abandon their pets, according to Lee.
Fortunately, the recent situation has improved. “Our group has accomplished more than 50 adoptions in the past four or five months,” said Lee.
At the press conference held after he announced his first policy address, Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng said he would “instruct Secretary André Cheong to pay more attention to prosecuting animal abusers,” in response to a question raised by the Times.
The Municipal Affairs Bureau (IAM), under Cheong’s supervision and the authority overseeing animal welfare, has only prosecuted a handful of violators of the Animal Protection Law since the law’s enforcement in 2016.
Coincidentally, another local animal welfare group, Anima, was informed yesterday that “someone in Macau was brutally beating his dog with a stick,” Albano Martins, the group’s head, wrote on his social media page.
The animal protection group informed the IAM and the Public Security Police Force before heading to the location. The owner was subsequently fined for not registering his dog. According to Martins, the eight-month-old dog was taken into the care of the IAM’s kennels.

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