Bali’s beach and stray dogs are often cited as part of the charm of the island.
The most friendly, relaxed beach dogs who roam freely along the beaches at Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, and even as far as Canggu are often loved by tourists and fed by local beach bar and surf school owners.
However, tourists on the island are being urged to play it safe when it comes to interacting with the beach dogs. While cute and most affectionate, the issue of stray dogs on Bali’s beaches has been a hot topic for years.
The local government regularly holds mass vaccination drives to ensure that all dogs known to the community are protected against rabies. Neutering clinics are also often held in the area in partnership with local animal welfare charities.
Following a beach dog attack against a tourist on Monday, the Head of Legian Village, Eka Martini, explained how the local authorities will be protecting beachgoers moving forward. Martini revealed, “We received reports of tourists being bitten by dogs at Legian Beach.”
@kylietaubes why am i tearing up watching this – – – – – – – #dog #wholesome #beachdog #bali #travel #cuteness #sunset #viral ♬ life is great – sew
He continued, “During the incident, the tourist who was walking was suddenly attacked by a dog, so the tourist suffered injuries to his legs.”
Martini confirmed that the tourist was taken to hospital to receive medical treatment. A search is not on to locate the dog and bring it for a veterinary assessment, and test for rabies.
The Legian Village leadership team has also established communication with local dog lovers and dog feeders, shelter owners, as well as the Badung Regency Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Service to find out the whereabouts of the dog.
He added, “We have obtained the characteristics of the dog, now we are still investigating its whereabouts. What will be handled later, we will coordinate with related parties.”
Though there is rabies in circulation in Bali, the likelihood of the dog in question being rabies-positive is low. This is because the beach dogs in the Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak areas are routinely vaccinated against rabies.
Even if the dog in question did come from outside the Legian area, a huge operation has been underway by the Bali provincial government throughout the year to vaccinate all known dogs on the island.
However, there have been several local people who have died due to rabies exposure this year, including a five-year-old girl.
Martini added, “Every dog that has been vaccinated is given a collar tag so that the Legian Beach Task Force can also identify and monitor dogs on the beach.”
This is a key sign for tourists that the dog is known to the community and authorities and is vaccinated.
“We are doing this as an effort to prevent rabies cases in Legian. Unfortunately, because the Legian area is quite large, especially as the Legian Beach area is a public area, it is very difficult to monitor dogs coming from outside Legian.”
Nevertheless, communal efforts have been underway for years to best manage the beach and start dog populations in the resort towns.
Martini concluded, “This case of dog bites actually no longer existed [until Monday], due to the efforts we have made together. But now it suddenly appears again.”
“Frankly, it is difficult for us to monitor dogs that come from outside Legian.” There is concern amongst the community dog carers that this incident may lead to a series of dog poisonings, as has happened in the past.
Dog owners are encouraged to be extra cautious about what scraps of food they allow their dogs to eat while out on walks for the next few days.
According to the World Health Organization, anyone who has been in contact with an animal that is at risk of carrying rabies should adhere to the following guidelines. These guidelines are known as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) and are divided into three categories.
Guidelines suggest that with “single or multiple transdermal bites or scratches, contamination of mucous membrane or broken skin with saliva from animal licks, exposures due to direct contact with bats (severe exposure),” the person affected must extensively wash the site with water and soap for at least 15 minutes and apply local treatment of the wound as soon as possible after a suspected exposure.
This should be followed as quickly as possible with “a course of potent and effective rabies vaccine that meets WHO standards; and the administration of rabies immunoglobulin or monoclonal antibodies into the wound if indicated.”
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