It really wasn’t that long ago that Bali Street Dogs were unencumbered by any tether, entrapment or necklace. The actual thought of restricting a free roaming anything is quite probably an obvious oxymoron, the intended action is a focused and deliberate mechanism to curtail movement. The result and consequence is not only a high degree of visual physical discomfort, it’s also a massive and generally unseen psychological torture that is much more difficult to fix. There is no justified reason for subjecting any species to such stress.
But then rabies officially arrived and a world of relativity for the Bali Street Dog changed into the new reality of fear and panic and paranoia. The looks of poison and pain pointed directly at them made them the pariah of paradise, the ugly untouchables. Being the host of a killer virus with the capacity to successfully infect one in three bitten victims and consign them to a demented death, is certainly not something that’s about to ramp up your canine popularity, especially when you’re image is already a growing issue in tourist popular locations.
So, a government introduced law brought a way of existence to the brink and with it the Bali Street Dog was about to learn a little of how many of its distant cousins in faraway lands had been living. The law clearly stipulated that if a dog was not chained, caged or at the very least collared, it would be deemed unowned and therefore would be subject to elimination. For the very first time in history, the Bali Street Dog found itself wearing collars, being placed on chains, but rarely caged – the cage is a prison saved for dogs that have value, the foreign breed dogs.
The rabies virus is probably as under control now as it’s ever going to be, it’s a debateable point to ponder if anything ever completely disappears or if it just waits until conditions are right to reappear in one form or another. But its reduction does not appear to have heralded the Bali Street Dogs return to their streets; in actuality it seems that they are becoming more and more constrained in their natural movements.
The introduction of foreign dogs certainly hasn’t been kind to the indigenous dogs on Bali, with an increasing number of Bali people being attracted by and turning to the imports in lieu of their own local brand. But as it turns out even these newbie’s are suffering similar consequences originating from being collared chained and caged, however the motivation is more about value and vanity than rabies and rights.
Are collars cages and chains the new paradigm for the Street Dogs on Bali, or will a new and informed view of this ancient breed, whose lineage is traced way back to the proto dog, raise them to an admired and protected position. Should they be elevated to such a level that could give them the rights they deserve and honourably enable and support them in making the adaptation involved to the obvious and rapid change under way?
Such a reality, that might just allow them the freedom to roam and the right to run.