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Macau: Animal Protection Law Passed

(Aug. 12, 2016) On July 4, 2016, the Legislative Assembly of the Macau Special Administrative Region of China (Macau SAR) passed its first-ever Animal Protection Law. The Law was published in the Macau official gazette on July 25 and will take effect on September 1 of this year. (動物保護法/Lei de protecção dos animais, Law No. 4/2016, MACAU SAR OFFICIAL GAZETTE, No. 30 (July 25, 2015), Government Printing Office website.)

The Law prohibits and punishes “cruelty and violence towards and the torture of animals and subjecting animals to suffering.” (Id. art. 3(1).) Violators are punishable by a one-year term of imprisonment or a fine. (Id. art. 25.)

Animal owners are in general prohibited from abandoning their animals. (Id. art. 5(1).) Owners must provide food, drinking water, space for movement, proper living conditions, and necessary preventive and medical care to animals. (Id. art. 11(1).)

One of the hottest issues that arose during the legislative debates on the Law is the requirement to use muzzles on dogs in public areas. According to the final version of the Law, effective 90 days after the official effective date of the Law (i.e., September 1), dogs that weigh 23 kilograms (about 51 pounds) or more must wear a muzzle or collar in public areas, including public spaces in buildings, although dog owners may apply for a license to exempt certain dogs from the requirement. (Id. arts. 11(3) & 41(4).)

In addition, in public areas dogs must be leashed or put in carriers. (Id. art. 11(3).) All dogs living in construction sites and junkyards will be neutered; owners or the people responsible for these sites must cooperate with government authorities when the latter perform their relevant duties. (Id. art. 16.)