Here’s How to Support Balinese Dogs (With Little to No Effort)

25 November 2019

Walking down the streets of Bali offers a myriad of sensory delights. Roaming street dogs are a consistent part of the Balinese landscape. They are as much a part of the community as monkeys and incense offerings everywhere on the island.

Dogs from a Balinese’s perspective

Bali's street dogs are not seen as pets, and Balinese people have with dogs very different from those that fit into the cultural context of Western life. The Bali locals do not classify dogs as pets. Due to growing poverty, many dog owners who can’t afford sterilizations and injections end up letting their dogs run loose on the streets. Most of the time, Balinese people do not show their dogs affection by touching them.

How locals treat dogs

For hundreds of years, Balinese people have eaten dogs for ceremonial purposes. Dog meat is seen as more profitable and as a good source of protein. Nevertheless, the illegal culling and treatment of dogs are staggering. Every year in Bali, over 70,000 dogs are slaughtered in the ugliest ways possible. Dog meat is obtained through bludgeoning, strangling, or poisoning of street dogs. Eating dog meat is not illegal, but animal cruelty and the distribution of contaminated meat surely are. If you want to know if a restaurant is serving dog meat, you have to watch out for the RW sign, indicating that it sells dog meat.

Dog rescue communities in Bali

But there is hope. For a few years, some dog rescue communities have been created to remedy these shortcomings and are doing a great job helping Balinese dogs.

BAWA is an American organization that focuses on rescuing street dogs and cats in Bali. It facilitates ambulance services, runs educational programs about animal cruelty, has adoption and rabies programs, facilitates street feedings, and tries to achieve a certain level of humane treatment (e.g., appropriate nutrition).


BARC is an Australian organization which is based in Ubud. It focuses on rescuing street dogs, cats, and monkeys. Some of their services include giving the dogs vaccinations, sterilizations, and an array of other medical treatments. They also run educational campaigns to raise awareness among Balinese children and adults about the importance of a cruelty-free environment.

Mission Pawsible

Mission Pawsibleis not precisely an animal shelter, but the owner brings in animals, takes care of them and puts them up for adoption.

3 Simple ways you can support Balinese dogs

You don’t have to accept the status quo. There are easy ways to enable Balinese dogs to live a better life.

Donate to one of the dog-rescue communities.

Some of the animal-rescue organizations not only have shelters but shops, where you can buy products (including souvenirs and second-hand goods). They are always looking for donations. Thanks to your contributions, they can improve their services and help more animals in need.

Volunteer at an animal rescue organization.

As they bring in more and more dogs every day, most of those organizations are always looking for volunteers. You will be able to help animals hands-on, including feeding, bathing, walking, and playing with them. Beforehand, check on the organization’s website if you need any vaccinations to be able to volunteer.

Foster a dog.

If you stay in Bali for a long time, you can consider fostering a dog or a cat. As it is not always advisable to directly rescue animals from the street, it is recommended to do so from renowned organizations.

Bali's situation is getting more and more concerning, and the animal-rescue organizations need any kind of support to help them fight against animal cruelty.


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