April 17-23, 2009
I am a regular reader of your newspaper since inception and find it most informative. As I’m sure you will agree, the positives of living here in Bali far outweigh the negatives. But in saying so, it’s also important not to shy from telling the truth.
On Friday night last week I witnessed a horrific incident which seems to just have been hushed up.
In Mixwell Bar, Jalan Dhyanapura, Seminyak, at approximately 2am, nearly 15 hired preman (thugs) from Kupang (paid for by the new management of a neighboring bar, Q Bar) came in and thrashed the bar, injuring many Westerners and locals in the melee. Twelve people needed hospital attention with two remaining in hospital. The police did not respond until three hours later and there was no police or banjar presence on Saturday night.
All of this does such damage to our efforts to promote Bali and I believe the only way to force police and banjar [authorities] into action is through publicity.
Your paper alone has not shied from exposing the sometimes darker side of the island and I’m sure without publicity this will escalate and it will damage all.
I have never in my six years on this island experienced something so brutal.
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This is the second time I have written to your pages about the rabies problem in Bali, and this time I am forced to by the emotive Instinct column in your April 10-16 edition.
Elizabeth Henzell argues against culling as even a partial or complimentary antidote to the problem; however her main evidence is contradictory. She quotes the WHO (World Health Organisation) as recommending the “reduction of strays” and “control of … movement of dogs.” It is true that the WHO’s first recommendation is for mass vaccinations, but the organization is also clearly in favor of doing something about strays and dog movement.
Since coming to Bali 10 years ago, I have noticed a remarkable tolerance of loose and stray dogs, even those that barked and growled at tourists on beaches and other tourist areas. This was OK when Bali was free of rabies, but now this tolerance is no longer possible.
Elizabeth mentions Europe (rabies declared), where there are no travel warnings, but in most of Europe there is zero tolerance of loose and stray dogs. In most parts of Australia (rabies free), roaming dogs are impounded, kept for a couple of weeks to allow owners to collect them, then either sold or humanely put down. There is zero tolerance of strays.
In the absence of dog pounds, Bali has little choice but to continue with culling in addition to a vaccination program. Vaccination alone is flawed. It seems that many people don’t realize that a human bitten by a rabid animal needs a series of vaccinations to protect him, not one. Similarly, dogs need a booster after one year and then further boosters each three years. Three months ago the banjar in my area had a mass vaccination and dogs were issued with tags; however these tags would only be good for one year.
Elizabeth writes of the culling of vaccinated dogs in Ubang Kaja. Apparently these dogs were running free whilst their owners were at work. Why weren’t they confined? Elizabeth also goes on the attack against letter writers (myself included, I guess) who write “swill” from the safety of their homes. Well, Ms. Henzell, I might write my letters at home, but I also go to Bali’s beaches, where I am currently frightened to take my dogs.
Currently and unbelievably, there are still stray dogs on Bali’s beaches and in other tourist areas. People are dying because the difficulty of treating possibly infected people is underestimated.
Rabies is a terrible disease; a combination of all possible eradication measures should be used. Stray dogs on Bali’s beaches can no longer be tolerated, and all dog owners and lovers should keep their dogs under control. More swill, Elizabeth, or am I not allowed to be as concerned about the problem as you?
John DanielFiled under: Letters