No matter which way a Bali Dog is chosen or arrives at a compound, there is a unique and ancient system used to tell the personality, or character, of the dog. This system, performed only on puppies and known as Guna Jaya Kala Paksa, involves a complex ritual using pieces of coconut leaf.
The puppy’s nose is measured, from the tip to between the eyes. This basic measurement is then used as the foundation ruler which dictates the number of folds that can be obtained from around the coconut leaf. Folds are counted whilst speaking out loud Gunya, Jaya, Paksa, Ketek, Kiul. The word spoken on the last fold tells of the character of the puppy.
Guna: Useful for hunting and guarding, very loyal dog.
Jaya: Will bring the owner good luck, a charismatic dog.
Paksa: A dominant dog who is very loud and assertive.
Ketek: This dog is dirty and has a large appetite.
Kiul: A lazy dog who will be hard to train.
Bali Dog puppies are petted, cossetted and nurtured but changes in these socialisation patterns begin when an adolescent dog is able to run and shows an interest in leaving the compound. The household now considers the dog responsible for his or her own provisioning. Unlike Western dog owners, Balinese people will rarely interfere with Bali Dogs interactions with each other on the streets, only becoming involved when a neighbourhood dog enters their compound uninvited.
The lack of provisioning and the importance of the independence of inter-canine social and biological relationships illustrate how Balinese people relate to the Bali Dogs as independent subjects in their own society and not as subordinates in a dependent relationship with a human being (Orr 2016, 69).
It was heartening to recently read that a miscreant was apprehended for stealing a dog. The purpose for the clandestine theft, allegedly carried out after a poisonous substance was utilized, was to allegedly use the dog to feed humans. However the feeding of the dog, against its will, to humans for their consumption, is not why the offender was arrested. The taking of another’s property was the reason.
A Bali Dog historically doesn’t actually have a single owner. Rather they are ‘owned’ by a conglomerate. Bali Dogs have always been regarded as, and in many cases still remain in factual reality ‘anjing liar,’ translated as ‘wild dog.’ Not officially owned by any one, yet known and unofficially owned by all, by virtue of how the neighbourhood functions. A Bali village really is a number of different things or parts that are put or grouped together to form a whole but remain distinct entities. Bali Dogs have existed and cohabited within this systemized reality forever and have physically free roamed their paws to the bone within their entire village area.
It makes sense that killing a person’s dog is theft because the act of taking the animals life is depriving the owner of the relationship. If this case is pursued through the legal system it will definitely be a test case. If successful then even the anjing liar will be a little safer from dog meat thieves and disgruntled non dog lovers within their villages. Anjing liar, those that are wanted by their community are those that perform a function such as temple dogs, will be afforded a new sense of protection.
Should the dog meat traders (or those who don’t like dogs) decide to target these useful dogs for capture and death then the entire village will technically be able to bring about a case of theft. Because those dogs, by the fact of their utility to the community (whatever that utility may be) are part of the village structure and therefore belong to the community.
This makes them communal property.
And it is against the law to steal another person(s) property.