At Sunset Vet we often get kind locals and expatriates enquiring about how they can arrange the mass sterilisation of street dogs in a certain area, particularly on beaches. This is because beaches are a common place for people to dump unwanted dogs (particularly female puppies), and also because dogs can congregate there to feed off the leftovers from warungs, beach bars and ceremonies.
Unfortunately it is very difficult for us to arrange a coordinated mass sterilisation day for stray dogs on a beach that are not used to being handled. Beach dogs will scarper at the first sight of something suspicious such as an ambulance or dog-catcher carrying a net! It is also very difficult to lure the dogs into an enclosed area in advance of the vets arriving, even for those kind angels who feed the dogs on a daily basis and so have some familiarity with them.
As a result the sterilisation of beach or other stray dogs can only be accomplished on an ad-hoc basis, where individuals are blow darted and brought to a vet clinic for treatment, and returned to their patch once sterilised, vaccinated and treated for whatever ailments they have.
Stray dogs that have been sterilised by Sunset Vet are given an ear tattoo with the letters SV on the inside of the ear. Unfortunately collars (to show that a dog has been vaccinated for rabies) do not stay on for long with beach dogs, who make light work of removing them from their buddies during rough and tumble play.
One fact that most of the general public are unaware of is that sterilising male dogs makes little or no difference to population control in street dogs. This is because dogs have relatively large territories and there is ALWAYS another unsterilized male dog ready to step in and impregnate a bitch in heat. Therefore to stop females getting pregnant you would need to sterilise ALL the males in a certain area, leaving just one intact would make all the other male sterilisations pointless. Since it is not feasible to sterilise every single male dog, we tend to focus purely on sterilising the females for population control. This does not mean that sterilising males is pointless, as there are other benefits such as the prevention of transmission of venereal sarcoma tumours and a reduction in wandering and fighting that limits the spread of rabies, but for population control you might as well forget the males and focus purely on the females.
Regardless of these difficulties, a massive impact on animal welfare can be made via the encouragement and facilitation of vaccination and sterilisation of pets belonging to low income local families here in Bali. Allowing dogs and cats to give birth every year produces countless unwanted puppies and kittens, many of which will die slow and painful deaths after being dumped or succumbing to the viruses (primarily parvo and distemper) that are so prevalent in Bali. Private veterinary care is simply unaffordable for many poor families in Bali, so there are a number of wonderful organisations working in this specific space to help them out, such as non-profits Bali Pet Crusaders and Pro Steril Indonesia.
Jet Set Petz is a program set up by American Expatriate Rhonda Lepsch and her Balinese husband Nyoman after they had 106 dogs and 23 cats dumped in their back parking lot in Tanjung Benoa, Nusa Dua. This experience led to them putting together a small program to help low income families in the area help their animals and to also help clean up the stray dog population.
What started off as a small program funded by Rhonda and Nyoman’s water sports company (www.jetsetmarine.com) that saw 8-10 animals a month has blossomed into almost 80 animals coming each month. Almost 50% of the animals now that come in are rescued by local people as they know there is an option if they take a dog off the street they’re not looking at 50% of the family’s monthly income going towards vet costs.
Rhonda’s sterilisation and vaccination program has not only cleaned up the local stray dog population, but has also ensured that there has not been a reported case of rabies in Tanjung Benoa for almost 4 years since the program started. Over the past 2 years Sunset Vet has donated vets pro bono to carry out the free sterilisations and vaccinations, and people donate drapes, gloves, sutures, other medicines, Nexgard, shampoos, collars, etc all of which are used on the day. This helps to keep the costs down, but the drugs, suture material and multi-vaccines also need to be covered somehow and thus Jet Set Petz is on the lookout for monthly sponsors – a perfect opportunity for a business or individual who wants to do their bit to help animal welfare in Bali. A donation of USD $1000 is enough to cover a monthly sterilisation day that treats on average 80 animals, the donating business or individual is then acknowledged via printed banners on the day and via extensive social media coverage. Jet Set Petz is still desperately looking for sponsors for July, August and September, please email them for further details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunset Vet offers veterinary services via their Kuta (24hr) and Ubud (8am-10pm) clinics. For further information or to make an appointment call them on 03619348915 (Kuta) or 0361975296 (Ubud), or visit www.sunsetvetbali.com or www.facebook.com/sunsetvetbali or Instagram: sunset_vet_bali
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