Editorial: Get the Dogs Off Our Streets

An emergency is gripping Bali, killing scores of people, but the only response to the rabies crisis is to care for the massive amount of stray dogs on the streets and roads, the animals that are the main breeding ground for the fatal virus. People seem to be an afterthought.

Despondent at the lack of adequate reaction to the emergency, some parts of Bali have started their own cull of stray dogs.

Late last week we heard from families along the north coast who said they were living in fear over the large number of strays in their area, after a teacher in Seririt died from rabies. Villagers implored the government to remove the threat to their lives and take every last stray dog off the street.

That should have been done long ago, not just in Seririt but all over the island. But the villagers’ calls are going unheard.

Bali is an island of intense beauty and courteous people, two admirable qualities that enrapture people living and holidaying here. This idyllic setting is being destroyed by the marauding hoards of dogs whose population is exponentially exploding. As we have warned before, we have in our midst our very own bombs-in-the-making that may be an equal to the terrorists’.

People are being bitten by rabid strays, and are dying. Motorists are being killed, when dogs wander into the streets. Tourists are being chased about and are fearful of the snarling packs. Residents cannot even sleep for the nightly racket generated by this island-wide, extraordinary menace.

The government’s rabies-elimination scheme, in its current incarnation a dog-vaccination programme, will continue, but its success will be limited because of the sheer size of the stray-dog population. There is a much wider problem, one with many elements. And it can only be solved by removing every stray dog in Bali.

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13 Responses to “Editorial: Get the Dogs Off Our Streets”

  1. Mark Ulyseas Says:

    This is madness. It must stop otherwise it will affect tourism.

    The surest way to get results will be to send a strong signal to those who are ‘supposed’ to be in charge of this mess, certain Bali Govt. officials and BAWA. Criminally prosecute them.

    Strange no citizen has filed a criminal case against these people.Maybe someone in Jakarta should do this.

  2. Sue Bennett Says:

    They are a danger to people, cars, motorbikes, why are they still left to roam? It’s almost impossible to walk in Bali because of the danger the dogs pose I don’t want your dog in my face….if it is your family dog then lock the dog up in your house, euthanize the remainder and make Bali safe again.
    Who is in charge? The people or the dogs?

  3. John Says:

    Don’t blame the strays, blame the dog owners!

    The question is where do the stray dogs come from? Most owned Bali dogs run in out of their keepers houses as they please—barking, snarling, biting, chasing people and motorbikes, mating at will—more dogs!

    When was the last time you saw Bali dogs on a leash (apart from the occasional sightings on Seminyak beach)?

    Unless we change our way of how we keep dogs on this island, the Rabies problem will just keep on coming like it has been doing for the last couple of years and more people will die as a result.

    Even if you manage to vaccinate all dogs on the island, the vaccine itself is not 100% effective and the dogs still needs to be re-vaccinated continuously. How are you going to keep this up and who is going to pay for it?

    Already now money is running out and those who are paying for the vaccination programs are getting fed up as all this money is being spent on Bali when Bali in return is working against the solution by allowing t’s dogs, private as well as stray, to run free on the streets, mating and producing more dogs that can spread the virus.

    This problem will not go away until people change—by themselves through public awareness or by law and regulations. It is frustrating to see the amount of money being thrown at this that could have gone to something better such as schools and infrastructure. The rabies vaccination groups and government officials on the island are aware of this but the answer is that this is the Bali culture and we can not change it.

    Most likely it will just continue like this: Rabies cases will increase, we kill and vaccinate even more dogs, Rabies cases goes down for a while and then straight back up again, and we repeat the cycle.

    If you want Bali free of Rabies you have to solve the problem with how dogs are kept and forbid and remove dogs from the streets. Vaccination alone will never be the solution.

  4. Lynn Howell Says:

    Don’t blame the dogs it’s not their fault.

    Guess the people in charge of this program are to blame. As for this affecting tourism surely common sense prevails – as much as I love dogs you obviously would keep away from those affected by rabies.

    Yes have been to Bali many times & will be there in a fortnight.

  5. Donna Says:

    Its not only tourism that will be affected. Local lives are being lost.

    Its time that the local Balinese take responsibility for their dogs. Sure, puppies are cute and cuddly, but once they are grown up, they are allowed to run free in the streets. If people choose to have a dog, they should ensure that it is kept within the confines of a yard.

    A few months ago, I was walking my dog (on a leash) in Sanur. A dog ran out of its house, started a fight with my dog and attempted to bite my dog.

    The owner blamed ME for this as i was on his side of the road, and if i wanted to walk my dog, i should do so on the other side of the bypass road.


    Those who have dogs should keep them inside their own yards, and ensure that they have had adequate rabies vaccinations.

  6. Carol Fleming-Phillips Says:

    A complete cull of all stray dogs on Bali is the answer.Owners should only be able to keep a dog if it is FULLY immunised(not just against rabies) and kept up to date, also wear identification.
    If things keep going at this pace it will be years before rabies is eradicated if at all!!!!

  7. hot dog Says:

    wait till a politision gets bitten one night then we will hear him cry rabies iv been bitten

  8. Dogsxox Says:

    It is the culture there to let dogs free, which i agree with, in Australia we euthanize 400,000 dogs a year, this is very bad karma. I was just thinking that bali manages their dogs better than we do in a more humane way. The animal protection law in australia says that causing an animal harm is illegal. Isn’t killing them harm??? If it isn’t then would you mind if they killed your child if they went outside without you? if you knew she had a good painless death? NO… We kill so many dogs in australia i think Bali is more humane.

  9. Dogsxox Says:

    desex all dogs and educate the balinese, do you know how many people i see dumping animals in bali rather than call BAWA, they dump puppies, kittens on the road, do they not know about BAWA or is BAWA just catering for tourist $$$? BAWA and the govt need to educate the peope no Balinese even knows about BAWA….

  10. mrsgabry Says:

    I live in Bali half of the year and the only snarling and dangerous dogs I came across are the rottweilers and dobermans from villa owners who have no clue how to train a dog.
    Keep on with the vaccination programm.
    Killing the streetdogs is no solution for the problem. They are not agressive like many of these pedigree dogs that are kept only for protecting someones villa.

  11. Frances Clawe Says:

    I’ve been following this issue for a while, and actually, I’m in support of the vaccintion plan. If it avoids the cruel killing of the dogs, so much the better. I’ve seen some footage of the government culls back in 2008 and 2009 – which failed to reduce dog numbers or control rabies, by the way – and it was absolutely appalling.

    I visited the BAWA office in Ubud and I think they are doing really well. This is a government project, after all – BAWA are just supporting them in the field.

    They also seemed very concerned to avoid human deaths, as well as look after the dogs. Apparently rabies can incubate for several months, so the fact that cases are still showing up doesn’t mean that the programme isn’t working – the dogs or people could have had the disease already. And from what I’ve read, hardly any of the people who died seem to have sought treatment after being bitten, which would have saved their lives.

    I don’t believe in cruelly killing animals for human convenience, particularly if there are realistic alternatives being offered, as in Bali. The same programme has worked in other countries with large stray dog populations, so why not here?

    So I say, thumbs up to the government and their supporters for having the courage to try a humane solution that may actually work!

  12. B.K. Says:

    The problem with the dogs is only one of many other problems on Bali …. PLN, cruise harbour, traffic … what ever all of this is a result of the low interest in the government about the peoples on Bali, the tourists of Bali, the future of Bali …. its easier to fill up the own pockets with bribery money and wait for the next day.
    The could become help from many peoples to find solutions for problems … but the don´t wont …. no interest, not need …. mentality or uninterested in the own life and future ?!?!?!
    Who knows ??

  13. Paul (Jimbaran) Says:

    I have neighbors who insist on feeding the street dogs and keeping the cycle going. Then the dogs hang around waiting for the next handout. To pass the time, they mate and fight with each other usually from 10 pm to 3-4 am. And see who can bark the loudest at any noise that happens.

    How do these people who keep feeding these dogs get any sleep? Because I know I don’t get much and I throw rocks at them to try to keep them away.

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