Bali's dogs need to be treated well: Activists

Bali's dogs need to be treated well: Activists

People who spend some time in Bali will find dogs roaming everywhere - in the villages' narrow alleys, on the beaches and in every urban and rural corner of the island.

The wide presence of stray dogs, as well as pet dogs, poses many problems - health and sanitation in particular, as demonstrated in the recent rabies outbreak.

Janice Girardi, founder and director of Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA), said that the ongoing vaccination programs had decreased rabies cases in both animals (especially dogs) and humans since the first rabies outbreak in Bali in 2008.

"But we must continue to vaccinate and stop eliminating previously vaccinated dogs to maintain herd immunity," Girardi said.

Every day, BAWA receives reports of indiscriminate poisonings and shootings of dogs in Bali. "Perhaps, the newest and the most serious threat is the survival of Bali's dogs," she said.

Scientists believe that Bali's dog species is one of the world's oldest dog lineages, believed to be the most genetically pure.

"Dog genetic history is highly significant to science," she said.

BAWA is a non-profit charity organisation that cares for the health and welfare of animals. It also runs education programs for children and the community.

BAWA runs a free animal sterilization programme on request. "We run a free 24/7 island-wide ambulance service to take care of injured animals that do not have owners, or whose owners cannot afford their healthcare."

She said that BAWA also continued implementing education and advocacy programs, as well as emergency and rescue programs to foster and adopt animals in need.

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