As someone who has a soft spot for dogs, seeing the conditions of stray dogs in Bali really breaks my heart.
Stray dogs have become a long-standing problem in Bali. The lack of awareness or fund to sterilize and give vaccinations, even for pet dogs, have worsened the situations. Following the rabies outbreak in 2008, in 2014 Bali governor issued a statement to cull stray dogs as a way to control rabies, on top of telling dog owners to keep their pets confined to their homes. They even had ‘dog elimination day‘ for this program (warning: it’s a distressing article with equally distressing pictures). I really can’t wrap my head around this. Here’s an article from World Animal Protection explaining why culling dogs is ineffective and unacceptable.
Anyway. When I was in Bali, I saw many dogs in every place I went to. Most of them were in poor conditions; bone-thin, with fresh wounds all over their bodies caused by constant scratching (I suspected they had ticks and fleas and were left untreated). Knowing I couldn’t pet them, I just walked past, sometimes stopping to say hello. Some of these dogs would look me with pleading eyes, roll over in a gesture that I took as a request for a belly rub. It took everything for me to hold back and walk away. Sometimes their hunger for love and affection was so palpable that I almost cried.
In some of the places I went to, the owners/workers kindly took stray dogs as pets, and these dogs were in slightly better conditions.
If you follow my Instagram, you’ll see that this is the dog that was rescued by the people in the hotel I was staying in Nusa Ceningan. He used to be beaten/abused by his previous owner, and he’s become deeply traumatized. Even years after that, he was still as timid as mouse, running away from people who were greeting him :'(
A few organizations are doing their best to help tackling this issue, one of them is Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA). Their programs include 24/7 hotline and ambulance, rehabilitation & adoption, rabies response and control, humane population control, street feeding, and many more (click here to know more of their programs). As I mentioned above, some of the pet owners in Bali struggle financially, so vaccinating and sterilizing their pets are usually not in priority. Among many things, BAWA helps by giving vaccinations and sterilization for free.
My boyfriend and I went to one of BAWA shops in Ubud, and the lady there told us the terrible conditions of dogs in Bali, and the difficulties they faced, such as lack of funding and volunteers. If you want to help, please please do whatever you can. You can:
- apply to fundraise,
- bring supplies (they have a wish list, so you can choose from there)
- adopt, or
- buy their products.
The cute keychain I bought in BAWA shop.
Any help, however small, will be much appreciated.
I mean, just look at this face.