Bali Dog Meat Trade: ‘Nothing Primed Me for The Brutal Catching of Dogs’, Says Investigator (+18)


The dog catchers


“During the investigation, I stopped at a small dog meat restaurant in Bali’s north. There I met the owner’s son, a lively, rotund man of around 35 years old whose name was Made. I asked Made where his father got the dogs from. He confessed to being a dog hunter and said he supplied all the restaurants in the north of Bali.

“Made told me he caught most of the dogs he killed in Kintamani, an area well-known for its gorgeous scenery and active volcano. He requested me to join him in two days’ time.

“The men prepared their tools. White rice sacks, pre-cut strings and wire nooses on heavy steel poles that looked very well used.

“The first target was a dog a fellow planned to sell ‘before [his] sister woke up’. He said his young sister’s dog cried at night and kept him awake. The hunters crept up to the house, but the dog noticed them. He barked and ran away. I rounded the corner to see a sleepy young girl holding the dog by the ears. She unwillingly allowed the dog hunters to noose her pet, drag him away from her and tie his legs together and his mouth shut.

The young girl looked on as the dog wailed in fear while the hunters stuffed him inside a white rice sack. They paid her brother 40,000 rupiah ($4) and left.

“The catching was fiercely violent. At times, one dog hung from the wire noose while another was tied. The hanging dogs screamed and writhed as the noose was throttling them. Some tried to bite through the ties to free themselves but with their muzzles lashed, their efforts were useless. The villagers accepted 100,000 rupiah ($10) for all nine animals. The petrified dogs were bagged and loaded onto the motorbike and the hunters headed off on their bikes back to their restaurant.

The man who shot dogs in open streets

“On a cool, still morning in Bali, I met with Gus — short for Gusti. He was a member of a gang that I had lately met and he had invited me along to watch him collect dogs. I presumed Gus would noose dogs the same way I’d seen other hunters do, so it was a shock when he greeted me with two puppies and a large rifle. He patted his puppies’ goodbye in a way similar to my own morning ritual.

“We drove through the streets of Bali looking for dogs that suited his requirements. We passed many in the streets and I fought to understand how they differed from the ones he would ultimately take.

“Soon an appropriate dog caught his eye. We stopped our motorbikes, he loaded his rifle and we turned back towards his target.

I asked Gus how he knew this dog was a stray. He replied, ‘I don’t care, I will just take it’.

“Luckily for that dog, two young males appeared at just the right time. Gus dropped his weapon and quickly sped away. Along the way, Gus kept getting calls from fellow gang members in different streets. We joined two of them in front of a small general store. A black dog was lying down on the entrance. Gus raised his weapon and lined the dog up, but before he could shoot, the shopkeeper came out.

“‘No one owns this dog,’ she said.

“Gus relocated himself and killed the dog with a single shot. The lady lowered her head and went back inside without speaking another word. The dog was rapidly bagged and put onto a motorbike and we drove off.”

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