Authorities are reportedly looking for an unidentified man, believed to be a foreigner, who was seen chasing and hitting dogs on Batu Belig beach to the dismay of many onlookers and netizens.
Several videos have widely circulated online since yesterday evening, showing a man holding a thick wooden stick, while threatening and occasionally brandishing it at people who appeared to be trying to stop him from chasing and beating dogs on the beach.
The video poster, who wishes to remain anonymous, said the man appeared on the beach at around sunset yesterday and started hitting dogs with the stick, which she described as having a sharp end.
“Immediately, five people gathered around to try and protect the dogs but he was threatening them [by] poking the stick towards them and eventually he decided to leave,” she told Coconuts Bali.
The poster, who shared her videos on Instagram and Facebook, said that the man claimed to have killed dogs before, believing that all dogs in Bali were infected with rabies because he had been bitten previously.
The videos have sparked action from the local community today, who are sharing their sightings online in efforts to identify the man and alert the authorities. Animal activists are also working with local authorities to look into the allegations further.
Janice Girardi, Bali Animal Welfare (BAWA) founder, said today that her organization has reported the matter to the North Kuta police station, adding that authorities are still trying to find the man in the video.
However, there is presently a lack of hard evidence for police to conduct a formal investigation.
‘Alarming’ reports of dog abuse
“We are dismayed at the amount of cruelty cases we have been seeing and receiving reports of in the last few days and weeks,” Janice said.
“There have been four just today that are all horrific — poisonings, dog-snatching, [and others].”
Janice explained that BAWA has received “alarming” numbers of reports from different parts of Bali, including a pitbull who was seriously abused and died hours after being rescued, with BAWA planning on filing charges against the pitbull’s owner next week.
While noting that there could be a number of factors contributing to the rise of incidents, Janice said it’s possible that the current economic situation amid the COVID-19 pandemic might have played a role.
“With locals struggling financially, there is a possibility that people could be resorting to capturing and killing dogs either to consume, or to sell for consumption, and farmers who are completely reliant on the success of their crops and livestock may be going to greater lengths to protect their produce by using poison to keep dogs out of it,” Janice said.
Read more news and updates from Bali here.
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