APPT9 Macau Day 2: Charity starts at the tables

Barking dogs were the welcoming party as we hopped out of the taxi at Anima - a charitable organisation that houses stray and abandoned dogs and cats as well as fighting for a change in the culture of animal welfare in Macau.

Joined by APPT President Danny McDonagh and Team PokerStars Pro Bryan Huang we were assured by Anima President Albano Martins that the animals were harmless before he delved into the organization's mission and the difficulties they've had.

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Team PokerStars Pro Bryan Huang enjoys his trip the Anima

Created in 2003 by its 11 founders, Anima's aim is to "promote adequate treatment, the prevention and/or suppression of cruelty on animals" as their charter explains. We were lucky enough to get a guided tour of the on-site shelter and meet some of the animals they'd rescued.

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The Anima facility

The photo doesn't do Anima justice. The complex extends far beyond the building with pens housing up to 70 dogs. You could hear the passion in Martins' voice as he told us how the facility was so full that the in-house vet was overrun and it was impossible to have a quarantine area as they just didn't have the capacity.

There is good news though. PokerStars LIVE Macau has teamed up with Anima to support the cause. Here at APPT Macau, the players are helping donate to this charity and others, with a percentage of the tournament entry fees going directly to help out.

"As part of the agreement with the Macau regulator, a proportion of tournament player admin fees is donated to Macau based charitable organisations," explained APPT President Danny McDonagh. "To date since the inception of PokerStars LIVE Macau, this has meant tournament poker players have been responsible for donations of HKD$3,775,000 (US$486,953) to a number of organizations including Anima, Caritas de Macau, Macau Child Development Association, Missionary of Charity and Artistry Windbox"

"With Anima it is very easy to see how much the president Albano Martins and all the staff, many of them volunteers, really care for animals in need here in Macau. I am really pleased that our events here can ultimately help organisations such as this."

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Anima President Albano Martins shows us the donation wall

These donations will go towards housing abandoned animals and helping with Anima's project to close the Macau Yat Yuen Canidrome. The greyhound racing track euthanizes the dogs at an average rate of 30 per month as soon as they are found to not be profitable. If you want to get involved with the cause you can sign the petition here and find out more information at www.animamacau.org.

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One of the rescued dogs at Anima

After our tour we headed back to PokerStars LIVE Macau just in time for the start of Day 2 here at the APPT9 Macau Main Event. It's a change of scenery from Anima, but the show must go on. And so far it has been a hectic start with over 60 eliminations already today as we edge closer to the money bubble. You can follow the action in the live reporting section of the APPT9 Macau page and we'll have more feature stories to come here on the PokerStarsBlog.

Brad Kain
@PokerStars in PokerStars Macau