IFAW Urges Restraint In Unconfirmed Rabies Deaths

Tuesday, 2 December, 2008

IFAW urges Indonesian authorities to vaccinate not cull dogs following a possible outbreak of rabies in the resort town of Kuta, Bali.

According to reports, four people have died after being bitten by dogs but their death is not necessarily the result from the bite or from rabies. However the local government has called for people to start killing dogs on the street.

“The random killing of dogs is not going to solve the problem if rabies has broken out in Kuta.  The majority of dogs in the local population must be vaccinated for rabies to be successfully controlled,” said IFAW Asia Pacific Director, Erica Martin.

“There is an urgent need to ensure that human and animal vaccination is available and that the community is educated about dog bite prevention as well as bite management.

“All dogs in the local population should be vaccinated, suspect cases should be quarantined for observation and animals with clinical signs of rabies should be humanely euthanased,” Ms Martin said.  

IFAW is requesting that the local government urgently re-call their message to randomly kill dogs and if rabies is confirmed work to reach an effective and humane solution for both animals and people.

Contrary to popular belief the majority of dogs in Bali are not strays.  The dogs are what are known as ‘owned roaming’ dogs who have owners but they are not confined by fences.

IFAW funds the Yudisthira Bali Street Dog Foundation mobile vet clinic. The program treats thousands of dogs for skin disease, ticks, worms and malnutrition.  The team also carry out spay/neuters to reduce the number of unwanted puppies.

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Kerry Glenn (IFAW, Asia Pacific)
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