Dear Governor Pastika:
First of all, forgive this intrusion on your crowded schedule in the lead up to the APEC Summit.
But I feel compelled to write in order to call to appeal your assistance in an unfortunate developing situation that I believe is within your power to remedy.
Over the past days, animal welfare authorities in Gianyar have ordered the closure of the Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA), citing a number of licensing and registration violations by the BAWA Animal Clinic in Lod Tunduh, near Ubud.
Given a deadline of only days to prepare licenses that require weeks of detailed preparation and processing, the workers and volunteers now face the inevitable closure of their animal clinic and the resulting dilemma of how to find homes for the nearly one-hundred animals now under BAWA’s care.
Since its establishment nearly a decade ago, BAWA has made tremendous strides in improving the lot of Bali’s dogs and other pets. It has launched educational programs in local communities and schools; provided free clinics for pets; established a 24-hour animal ambulance service; created an effective adoption program for stray or unwanted animals; and played a front-line role in the critically important battle against rabies now underway in Bali.
Fiercely committed to animal welfare and impatient with the enormity of the task at hand, BAWA and its supporters have sometimes been guilty of over-zealousness, trampling on a the feelings of some members of the community along the way. Despite any missteps BAWA may have committed, the overwhelming evidence remains that Bali is a much better place today because of BAWA’s untiring devotion the island’s pet population.
In the process of educating the people of Bali on the plight of its street dogs BAWA has also happily learned of the strong support of the Balinese community for their work. Many Balinese doctors and community members work as volunteers; make donations; and participate in rounding up street dogs for vaccination, sterilization and medical care. Along the way, the Balinese volunteers at BAWA have shared the epic Mahabrata story,known to every Balinese child, of Yudistira whose kind manner was capable of taming even the wildest animal.
This deeply ingrained Bali-Hindu deference to all living creatures, is also embodied in the blessing for animals sought from the Almighty each Tumpek Kadang day. A shared sense of kindness to animals is part of the spirit that motivates BAWA’s ambulance workers who responds at any hour of the day and night when called to assist a sick animal or a dog injured on the Island’s busy roads.
Bali's reputation as a world renowned tourist destination has been aided by BAWA's work. Tourist visitors to Bali are relieved to know that injured animals encountered while touring the island are urgently cared for by the workers and volunteers of BAWA.
Such good work on behalf of Bali and its animals are now at risk of coming to an endwith the coming closure of BAWA.
Dear Bapak Pastika, because of your personal background as a top law enforcement officer in Indonesia you know that there are always two options available when faced by those who have made mistakes and failed to follow the law. Those choices are: strict enforcement of the letter of the law or alternatively educating and counseling the public to follow the law and eliminate future errors.
Given adequate time and guidance from animal welfare officials, I feel you can be certain that BAWA would spare no effort to comply with all existing rules and regulations in order that they continue with their important work. If you could mediate the needed additional time for BAWA to work with officials to put its documents in order, not only would Bali retain this valuable community asset but BAWA would be able to forge a more positive working relationship with the Island’s officials in the future.
As the clock ticks down on BAWA’s continued existence, your intervention is urgently needed to see that the work of this outstanding community organization is allowed to continue without compromising any existing rules and regulations.
On behalf of the wagging tails and cold noses seeking everyone's care and consideration, permit me to thank you for taking the time to read this letter.
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