In the short week, I’ve been here, I have heard numerous reports of senseless government culling happening all around us – one, of someone’s pet husky in their own yard. The friendliest of its owner’s four dogs, it came out to greet the people who entered the yard with strychnine darts, a cull ordered by a village leader who was completely out of step with its residents.
Family members were heartbroken, and although the government admitted its mistake, the dog is never coming back.
On the other hand, we went to the site of a beach dog who had given birth to puppies outside a pharmacy. Concerned about her safety, locals had attempted to cover her hiding spot with cardboard and give her space, but they were worried someone might try to harm her.
When we finally got there, in the pouring rain, the very protective mama was letting nobody near her puppies, so we stood helplessly by until the Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA) ambulance could get there and handle her safely.
Unfortunately, one of the day-olds rolled out of its little shelter and got its head through the handle of a plastic bag from the nearby rubbish pile. We watched, desperate to help, as the puppy struggled to push its legs through and get out of the rain to mama.
We held our breath as the mama gently licked, pulled and cajoled baby to work harder. When, finally, she broke free, and we breathed a sigh of relief, I looked up to see all six pharmacy employees, glued to the front window, cheering for puppy and mama’s victory. We smiled, connected across language and culture, in our shared joy.
Moments like these remind me that, even where there is so much suffering, there are so many people who love animals and choose to help.
It gives me hope because my visit here, this time, was not only to witness the myriad challenges. I was here to help organize partners to launch a new community-based program that will bring even more veterinary care and education to local villages. As we have seen already through our hands-on work here, it is the villages who can ultimately choose to end this senseless killing.
And I believe we can help them do it.
What You Can Do to Help Bali’s Dogs
To take action, call on the Bali government to stop culling dogs and urge the return to annual, comprehensive dog vaccination programs. Share this article to help inform others of this heartbreaking practice and let’s help to save Bali’s four-legged friends!
Lead image source: IFAW