Four apparent human fatalities from rabies in a southern part of Bali has sent the island into another health crisis, and led Governor I Made Mangku Pastika to order at the weekend that all stray dogs be put down.
That’s a drastic measure, and one that’s not likely to curb any likely festering epidemic, at least from what we hear from animal-welfare experts.
They, here and in the United States, say the best way of dealing with rabies is immediate vaccination, rather than a widespread culling program, and there are encouraging signs that may happen, after the authorities announced this week that upwards of 20,000 vaccines are being prepared. But who is going to do the rounds and administer them?
As we have argued on this page before, what Bali desperately needs is a Dog Warden program, to monitor and administer the vast army of strays that roam the streets, carrying not only skin conditions and diseases but posing an immediate risk to motorists.
The government is working to make Bali a better place, for residents and those who visit, setting up more effective parking areas, improving infrastructure and attempting to remedy that age-old problem of a workable public transport system.
Now it must clean up the canine-strewn streets, and in doing so make Bali a far safer place, for motorists and those on foot. A Dog Warden agency with empowered officers would be a good start.Filed under: Editorial