You may not be able to help all dogs, but you are able to help one dog. – Mother Teresa.
Without a doubt, stray dogs are quite evident on this island. Facts show that Bali had one of the highest populations of dogs in the world, around 1,000,000 dogs before the rabies outbreak. In 2007, Bali experienced an outbreak of rabies which has since caused a large number of human fatalities. The population of Bali dogs wasn’t the only problem, but the escalation of rabies-related deaths as well. Having that situation going on, coupled with myths that Bali street dogs are rabid, aggressive and feral, the government saw it as a threat in their tourism industry because no tourist would visit a rabies-infested environment. If this problem continues, Bali might lose an estimate of 60-70% in the economy sector.
Efforts have been made to eradicate and to solve this problem. Potential community-driven interventions for optimising rabies control such as vaccination took place. In 2015, sadly some provincial government resolved to dog culling. Culling is controlling the size of animals by killing them with the main goal is to lessen the number of stray dogs. But, is this the right thing to do?
This act triggered opposition from animal welfare groups and international experts. They argued that merciless dog culling is not only vicious but it is also not the right answer for rabies prevention. Figures revealed that the number of dogs dropped immensely to approximately 200,000. Dog-meat trade together with culling and natural reasons of death presented a big problem to the Bali dogs’ existence.
Honestly speaking, Bali dogs are highly intelligent animals. They are also capable of learning appropriate behaviour and interactions with humans. They make wonderful pets because, like other breeds, they are loyal and loving. They just need to learn to trust humans and to be treated with respect and affection. These fur balls’ lives are endangered because of some humans’ unwise decision. Dog culling is definitely NOT the answer. Vaccination and adopting these pups are more effective and humane ways of solving this menace.
And the sad part is, Bali dogs were treated even more horribly than they are treated at this time. In years past, it was easy to find the bodies of dead dogs on the beach. These dogs had been poisoned or set afire or tortured for ‘fun’ with their legs wired together and other heinous acts were done to them. The hundreds of dogs that roamed the beach and streets were unfed and not given clean water, and most suffered from life-threatening skin conditions.
Bali is a transient island with a care-free attitude, so dependability is one of the biggest challenges. People have good intentions, but good intentions without follow-through don’t feed or care for the many dogs that require being fed and cared for every day without fail. This is where we come in the picture. Let us bring a new chapter to that dog’s tale of hope. We can simply start by treating all dogs with respect and kindness or providing them with healthy food and fresh water. That is the least we can do to save our strays.
Now, the question is: “Are we still turning a blind eye on this?”