Bali Dogs: Lovable creatures or disease-ridden pests?

dogOne feature of living close to Balinese people is the daily crowing of roosters, warning the neighborhood that dawn is just a couple of hours away. Another feature is the sight of stray dogs that linger on most streets. Balinese people often name stray dogs and allow them to hang around as a semi-pet. Many of these creatures appear close to death, or least far from health. According to a report in the Herald Sun, local police are deliberately killing stray dogs using poison bait. The supposed reason for this is to clean up Bali’s image before the upcoming UNFCCC (UN Conference for Climate Change).

There is a popular bumper sticker that some expats display which says ‘I love Bali dogs’. There is even a program to help these homeless creatures maintain some level of health. It is fair comment though, to wonder what is the value of keeping these creatures alive. Do they add to the quality of life for most expats, or add to the holiday experience for tourists. Is the police action (if actually true) a good idea, or is it an attack on beautiful animals?

If you are like me then you believe animals belong in the country. Any animal in a city environment should be the responsibility of someone. One of the dangers of riding a motorbike in Bali is stray dogs darting out in front of you. One occasional sees the remains of a creature who didn’t make it pass the rear wheels of a car. Most of the Bali dogs are just noisy rather than aggressive, but once in a while a tourist gets bitten. The sight of sick looking creatures, something westerns are not used to, definitely does not help Bali’s image.