Bad Press for Bali as Rabies Bites Deeper

Bad Press for Bali as Rabies Bites Deeper


Bali’s rabies crisis is claming more lives and more international media coverage that will hurt the island’s tourism sector.

At least 65 people are now known to have died from the invariably fatal virus, which is largely transmitted by dog bites, following two more recent deaths.

And there’s the crux of this problem: Bali is overrun by wild dogs, with estimates of up to half a million strays roaming the streets and neighbourhoods and biting people at will.

Rabies-vaccination lines at Bali hospitals are long and unending, a sorry testament to the deadly viral reservoir all around us.

Thankfully the vaccination jab remains free for locals and foreigners, a fact confirmed by this newspaper with Sanglah Hospital’s rabies chief Dr Ken Wirasandi when we learned of Balinese being asked to pay for the injection.

Today one of the UK’s leading newspapers, The Independent, reports on Bali’s rabies emergency. The UK government has already issued a Bali rabies warning to people thinking of travelling here.

The Independent, while erroneous in saying vaccinations for people are not free, illustrates the stray-dog explosion in Bali, and says the authorities are taking the matter seriously with culls and vaccinations.

We question just how seriously the government is tackling rabies, because there has been no visible reduction in the number of strays.

The culling of stray dogs is controversial, for some. Animal welfare activists in Bali and overseas are distraught at the measure, and maintain that vaccination of strays is all that is required to render Bali rabies free.

We disagree, as does the Bali government, which has issued a regulation prohibiting stray dogs. Owners, after all, must be responsible for the pets.

There is no doubt about it: Every stray dog in Bali must be removed.

Even without the rabies threat, stray dogs pose a threat. A Bali Times reader commented: “The dangerous dogs ruined my Bali holiday, especially in Ubud. I saw a tourist get cornered and bitten by a pack of dogs in Ubud. It is too dangerous to walk the streets there.”

That should be warning enough for anyone concerned about the welfare of this island and its people.


  1. Jo Rachman says:

    Sorry I beg to differ went to Sanglah after being bitten by dog,had needles (2) walked out was chased to my car,on asking why was told I hadnt PAID,when replied I thiught it was free was told yes it is but have ti pay for Administration.IK but why when on checking even the Administration Fee is not the same for every one and for the same Obat ?????? plus when went back for follow up injections waited 5 hours NO vaccine !!!!!!!!!! I was one of the lucky ones found a reasonably priced clinic not like some of the Clinics making big business with the Rabies out break !!!!!!!! If you have to pay Adminidtration Fees that is NOT FREE

  2. John says:

    Seriously! Take any street in Bali, count the dogs running up and down protecting their territory. How many of these dogs are wild? How many live and get fed in somebody’s house and are are let free to do whatever they want? 

    This is how we do it on this island, get a dog, it protects your house, feed it, and let it do what it wants. It is so convenient! You never have to walk your dog on a leash and pick up it’s poop, and as a bonus you get a cheap burglar alarm. So could this *wild dog* problem actually be a *private dog* problem? 

    Until media, and common knowledge, acknowledges that this problem stems from the attitude and how we keep private dogs on this island, it will just continue. Authorities will continue to kill a lot of dogs, dog attacks and Rabies will temporarily go down, but it will soon be back up again. Why? Because it’s cool to have a dog that barks and protects your house, because you can just leave it to go about it’s own business (not like in Europe, where you actually take your dog for a walk). 

    So wake up and stop blaming the *wild dogs* and realize that the Bali style of keeping *private dogs* is what feeds the dog attacks and the Rabies situation. But again, I guess it’s always easier to blame the 
    government, authorities, *wild dogs* etc for the situation rather then realizing that you, the person who keeps your dog running on the street is actually the major reason for the Rabies and dog attack situation in Bali. 

    When everyone on this island stops to accept that their and their neighbors dogs runs loose in the streets, this will be the day when hospitals in Bali will receive less victims of dog attacks, not a day before!

  3. Donna says:

    John. Private dogs should have the rabies vacine which is given for free by the banjar’s or expats can get their vet to give it. A silver square dog tag is given to put on the collar so that authorities know it is a private owned dog and not a wild one.
    Dogs that are killed do not have this dog tag so are considered wild.

  4. jim says:

    I agree there is a rabies problem with stray dogs in bali but the kull of innocent dogs with the silver tag isn’t really acceptable. have had one dog with tag poisoned on legian beach and died within minutes. know of another in karangasem which was shot with a dart in front of owner. responsible dog owners should not have to hide their dogs in fear of them being killed when they are taking precautions to stop the spread of the disease.

The Bali Times