As Rabies Bites Deeper, a Denpasar Pet Market Sells Rabid Dogs


An Australian woman living in Bali bought a puppy as a pet a month ago at a pet market in Denpasar but the animal bit three people, including her young daughter, and turned out to have the deadly rabies virus that has now killed almost 70 people around the island.

The woman, who asked not to be named, told The Bali Times that she bought the dog, a Kintamani, for security reasons.

“I bought the puppy as we recently had a very violent break-in at our home. I wanted to get a dog that would be good with my 4-year-old daughter, so I chose a puppy because an older dog is not known for being great with small kids,” she said.

The seller asked for Rp1.2 million (US$132) but was bargained down to Rp400,000.

The woman said “they had many dogs there from all over Indonesia” and after her purchase was completed she took her puppy for a check-up.

“I took him straight to the vet for his vaccinations and the vet told us we had a great, healthy puppy.”

But she said that on July 17 the puppy bit her daughter and others. “…the puppy snapped and he bit three people – my daughter, my
partner and my friend — in a very short period of time.”

The dog-bite victims received vaccinations at Sanglah Hospital in Denpasar, where they were charged a collective total of Rp337,000 (Rp132,500 each for two foreigners and Rp72,000 for a Balinese) for the jabs — despite being billed as “free” by the Bali government.

Sanglah says it does not charge for the vaccine, only for equipment used to administer it, such as syringes – and also were treated at a private doctor’s office in Kuta. The child was given immunoglobulin, which boosts the immune system.

Then came news that the puppy, which had been put down, had rabies when the family bought it.

“[On July 23] it was confirmed that our poor little puppy had rabies,” said the mother, who lives at Sanur. “According to the incubation period of rabies in dogs, he had it when we got him. The market is selling rabid dogs. This needs to stop.”

There is no cure for rabies, a brain disease, once symptoms appear. Death is usually swift when these manifest themselves. Symptoms include agonising pain, phobias to water and light, and episodes of raging madness.

Sogol, a seller at Denpasar site, a longstanding haphazard dog-selling location in an alley opposite the Satria Market entrance, told The Bali Times on Saturday he was unaware that a dog he had sold turned out to have rabies.

“I don’t know anything about that,” he said. Asked if there was a possibility that some of the dogs he was selling were infected with rabies, he said: “No.”

Satria Market is traditionally known for its collection of small birds but also sells an array of other animals, from goldfish to hordes of Long-tailed Macaques — from Bali and Sumatra — to bats. Monkeys and bats can also carry rabies virus, along with cats and rats, but there have been no known instances in Bali’s current outbreak of humans getting rabies from such bites.

Dozens of dogs were up for sale at the unsanctioned dog market on Saturday, many of them clustered together in small cages. Others, mainly fully grown dogs, were on leashes. Breeds ranged from Bali’s native Kintamani to a tiny and fragile-looking mixed-breed Chihuahua — with a Rp1-million price tag — to a grey-eyed Siberian Husky.

Sogol said some of the dogs for sale came from Bandung in West Java, appearing to contravene a ban set by Governor I Made Mangku Pastika on dogs being brought into Bali from surrounding islands, as part of efforts to stamp out the rabies outbreak that emerged in southern areas in late 2008.

Asked how he managed to bring the dogs from Java to Bali, Sogol claimed he had official documentation.

“I have letters, at home,” he said.

He said he also has dogs that he sells for meat.

Meanwhile, the Australian woman, who has lived in Bali for two years, said she would be getting another puppy, but from a more reliable source: the Ubud-based Bali Animal Welfare Association, which rescues stray dogs and puts them up for adoption once they have a clean bill of health.

“They make sure all their dogs are vaccinated and healthy before allowing them to be re-homed,” she said.

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4 Responses to “As Rabies Bites Deeper, a Denpasar Pet Market Sells Rabid Dogs”

  1. Sandie Says:

    Very sad to read this, especially as the lady had taken the dog to the vet for a health check up. Again, controls at the Market and Market Vendors, need to be taken to prevent further outbreaks of rabies.
    One small point may just help.. Bail is over running with garbage, which brings in rats, and now the rat’s are rampaging all over the Island. Rats also carry the rabies disease. In destroying the wild dogs, we have lost the natural rat catchers. While I understand the fear of rabies, and that the Balinese Government has tried to help with offering a free vaccine to dog owners. Surely they need not have killed the wild dogs, merely given them the vaccine ?
    So, Bali clean up the garbage, and hopefully it will help with the rabies and rats.
    Thousands of tourist are arriving on the Island, and are disgusted at the amount of garbage piled on the roads, one case in point, Jalan Raya Uluwatu.. Sunset Rd and many many more !
    Respectfully yours

  2. Nava Says:

    I agree with your comments Sandie, a recent visit after many years alarmed me, when I saw the extent of the rubbish piled up everywhere and along the beach front, disgusting, who would want to swim at the beach amongst plastic bags, banana peels and bottles? Bali paradise? the jewel is becoming tarnished. and to cull the native dogs was another knee jerk reaction. why don’t the authorities close down the dog sellers at the market if they are selling dogs and other animals which have been introduced from outside the island?

  3. Orlando Puppies Says:

    The vaccine doesn’t do anything, it’s the immunoglobin shot that actually treats and prevents the disease. The immunoglobin is a bit expensive however and that is usually the problem in poor countries.

  4. Rabies Vaccine for Dogs Says:

    Magnificent web site. Lots of useful info here. I’m sending it to some buddies ans also sharing in delicious. And certainly, thanks for your effort!

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