If you've ever been to Bali, no doubt you've fallen head-over-paws for its furry residents and stunning wildlife. So why not say thanks to the awesome animal charities in Bali who work so hard to look after them?
Words by Alexandra Ancilla.
The past few years has been a whirlwind for us all – the pandemic hit people hard in lots of different ways. But did you know that it’s not only us hoomans affected by the pandemic, but the island’s resident animals too? Here in Bali, stray animals can be found practically everywhere you turn, and sadly, it’s been an ongoing issue since forever. Pre-Covid, the population of stray dogs reached over 500,000, and since the pandemic broke out, we are now seeing twice to triple the typical number of pets being dumped on the streets.
Luckily, there are a number of animal welfare associations and charities in Bali that are dedicating their lives to rescuing our furry friends as well as reptiles and sea animals whenever they can. If you want to help out but not sure how, spare some change and pass it on to these good peeps below – from Bali dog charities to cat rescue organisations and sterilisation programs too.
Animal charities in Bali – dogs & cats
1. Mission Paws’ible
Run by a small team with big hearts, Mission Paws’ible started in 2015 with a sole mission to connect anyone with a passion for saving dogs and cats in Bali. And from there, a tight-knit animal-loving community was born! With initiatives that rescue, rehabilitate and rehome, Prue Barber, the association’s founder and solo rescuer, has created a sustainable organisation that’s saved over 1,000 animals and counting. Supporters can choose a certain animal to support, make general donations, or purchase cool stuff from their online store with 100% of profits going to animals in need. Mission Paws’ible has made such a huge impact on the island, their rescue stories have been featured multiple times on The Dodo!
2. Bali Pet Crusaders
With an ever-growing number of stray cats and dogs in Bali, Bali Pet Crusaders set out to provide mobile and free sterilisation to help strays and local communities who can’t afford to care for their pets. The organisation was founded by an Aussie animal lover, Deb Banfield, and partners with a local charity, Yayasan Seva Bhuana. The team of professional vets travel through the rural areas of the island as well as the rabies red-zones to provide medical care, education, and incentives for local families who bring their pets for free sterilisation.
3. Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA)
When it comes to looking after the wellbeing of animals, BAWA does all that they can. Perhaps one of Bali’s most famous animal charities, this registered non-profit organisation has been operating tirelessly since 2007. Founded by Janice Girardi, a long time Bali expat, BAWA strives to tackle the root of animal mistreatment by working closely with local communities. They give education to positively change behaviours, treatments for injured animals, as well as sterilisation, vaccination and street feeding. Alongside these programmes, BAWA also organises adoption and fostering to find homes for rescued animals. You can help BAWA by simply donating, or if you’re here on the island, volunteers are always needed to give daily cuddles and walks.
4. Bali Rumah Singgah Satwa (Bali RUSS)
Bali RUSS was founded by Tio Russ with a very simple mission in mind: to save and give a better life to animals in Bali, especially dogs and cats. This organisation saves them from various threats such as disease, abuse, consumption, and elimination – not to mention giving them proper healthcare, sufficient nutrition, and a decent place to live. Initiatives include educational programs to promote awareness in animal care, adoption (to discourage purchasing pets from breeders), medical treatment for owners with financial constraints, and providing a shelter as a temporary home for dogs and cats. All before finding them their furever home…
5. Jet Set Petz
Jet Set Petz, founded by Rhonda Lepsch, was initially the Corporate Social Responsibility Program of Bali Jet Set Dive and Marine Sports, owned by Rhonda’s husband. The program started in 2013 in response to the concerns regarding rabies and the increase of stray dogs and cats within the area. The company’s parking lot also became a dumping ground for unwanted animals and has had almost 400 animals dumped there over a period of six years. Bali Jet Set Petz became a sustainable solution to address the problem, with a noble mission to vaccinate and sterilise all the dogs in the Tanjung Benoa area. To date, Rhonda and her team have sterilised and vaccinated more than 5,000 animals. Currently, they have 74 dogs in their care with most of them available for adoption. Interested to adopt a pupper or a cute kitty? Talk to Rhonda, she’ll find you a match, and even help with training too!
6. Villa Kitty
Being the only cat rescue organisation on the island, Villa Kitty began as a refuge for Bali’s destitute cats and kittens in 2011. Today, it’s a bustling sanctuary where disadvantaged felines (and the occasional canine resident) can truly feel at home before they go off to their forever homes. With the team’s passion to save kitties around the island, Villa Kitty runs several initiatives to provide a better life for them through rescue programs in partnership with Bali Pet Crusaders. They provide free sterilisation and vaccination to all foster families and local residents who cannot afford to pay, along with sponsorship, foster and adoption programs.
7. The Bali Dog
Born and raised on the Island of the Gods, Lena Waldmeier loved doggos from an early age when she started to bring home homeless puppies. This love expanded as she grew older, and while living in Barcelona, she started working with a grass-roots NGO before starting her own animal welfare association: The CASA Association. She focused full time on her association, before returning to Bali and launching her passion project, The Bali Dog. In a bid to save the ancient heritage dogs of Bali, The Bali Dog is dedicated to rescuing, fostering, and finding adoptions. Started in July 2020 mid-pandemic, The Bali Dog initiated an Emergency Street Feeding program for daily feedings in the Jimbaran and Kedonganan Beach area to keep the stray dogs’ tummies full. The program is ongoing and you can help by donating food items to keep this wonderful program up and running!
8. Street Paws
Solo rescuer Eliane visited Bali back in 2013 for a year’s break before she returned to her 9-6 job in Switzerland. But she couldn’t turn her head away from the stray animals issue in Bali. So, she started to care for stray dogs and cats, later founding Street Paws. This animal charity in Bali has developed rescue, adoption, and street feeding programs. Eliane and her team feeds more than 200 animals every single day through their feeding program, which has become essential during the pandemic where families are struggling to provide proper food for their fur babies. You can help Eliane help these dogs and cats by donating to her initiatives.
9. Bali Paws
Bali Paws is run by two sisters and self-proclaimed “crazy dog ladies”. Each day, they buy, prepare and cook food for an ever-growing pack of dogs, cats and neonates in their own home, all in recovery and rehabilitation after being treated at local clinics. Not only rehabilitating animals, Bali Paws has visited hundreds of local families with “pets” who are very often chained up or caged, malnourished, diseased and regularly hit. They not only provide proper food, clean water, medical help and any form of love and affection they can, but also education on animal welfare and even regular sterilisation days. To fund all this, Bali Paws relies on selfless donations, as well as sales from their own brand, Batu Bali, where all profits go towards helping dogs and cats in terrible conditions get back to health and eventually find a loving home.
10. Bali dog Adoption and Rehabilitation Centre (BARC)
BARC is a registered Australian-Indonesian non-profit organisation with a mission to provide a sanctuary for rescued animals. The centre organises a variety of programmes to improve animal welfare, from education programmes in schools, to street sterilisation, medical assistance, fostering and adoption. Located at the heart of Ubud, the centre is always in need of a helping hand (with a minimum donation). If volunteering is not an option, you can help by giving a financial donation, wish-list items (like dry food and toys) or shop from the BARC Charity Store.
11. Odd Cat Bali
Bali’s first comprehensive cat centre (a cat cafe, supplies shop, professional boarding and an adoption centre), the Odd Cat Bali opens its doors for all cats in need. With a mission to sustainably care for abandoned, abused, injured or neglected cats and kittens, this feline sanctuary in Canggu has managed to rescue over 600 and rehome over 400 cats and kittens since 2016. They provide basic needs, like food, shelter and veterinary care, until they find a loving fur-ever home for their rescues. There are many things you can do to help, with the best being adopting a cuddly friend if you live in Bali, or foster a cat or a kitten to help them prepare for rehoming. A donation is always appreciated, and of course, a visit to the cafe will help this charity financially, and help the kitties emotionally (show those cats and kittens some love!).
Animal charities in Bali – reptiles & marine life
12. Bali Reptile Rescue
Bali is home to countless species of reptiles, but sadly due to urbanisation, these animals are losing their natural habitats and hide in places they’re not supposed to. That’s where Bali Reptile Rescue comes in! This small team of dedicated volunteers provides free reptile removal and rescue services 24/7. They give treatment for injured reptiles and space to rehabilitate. The team also provides education, to learn more about these often misunderstood animals and why they are important to the ecosystem.
13. Bali Sea Turtle Society
Indonesian waters are home to six turtle species, but with that comes a number of issues. These range from sea turtle trading, nesting problems due to increased tourism, the monsoon season resulting in stranded turtles, and many others. Bali Sea Turtle Society is a non-profit organisation that has been working since 2011 to raise awareness of these issues, and to conserve all the species of turtles that can be found in Indonesia. The team works closely with local communities to protect the nests, rescue injured turtles and those that have been traded, as well as educating the community and organising campaigns.
14. Dolphin Project
This international campaign began after the global unrest of Bali’s dolphins, and today, it has made a Bali home in Umah Lumba Rehabilitation, Release and Retirement Center, the world’s first permanent facility for formerly captive dolphins. Dolphin Project aims to stop dolphins from being captured, mistreated and exploited as tourist attractions and entertainment. The team actively engages local communities and government to address this issue, as well as to raise public awareness through creative outreach like mural arts, education for kids, and billboard campaigns, to name a few.
The stray animal issue in Bali is an ever-growing problem, but the following little steps can help to reduce it significantly:
- If you are a pet owner in Bali, please sterilise and vaccinate your animals. And if you can, help to do the same for your neighbour’s animals and the furry residents in your neighbourhood.
- Get to know the animal charities in Bali (like the ones listed above!) and donate whatever you can. No matter how small the donation is, it will add up and help the animals in so many ways.
- Whenever you see a stray, give them a little piece of your meal and a comforting pet on the head (if they are friendly and not afraid of humans). If they are in bad condition, alert a local vet or one of Bali’s rescue organisations. It helps if you are able to pay for the treatment, as Bali’s animal charities receive hundreds of calls every week, and are expected to front the bill.
- If you have the love and the time, foster (or even adopt!) an animal in need. Whether you can spare a few days, a week, or even multiple months, foster parents are a huge help to animal organisations, helping to lighten the load at each facility (which is often the rescuer’s personal home!).
Words by Alexandra Ancilla
Alexandra traded Jakarta’s skyscrapers and city lights for the laidback island life back in 2013. Frankly, she has never looked back. When she’s not hustling being a PR pro, you’ll probably find her snuggling with her doggo duo, Muji and Teddy, stuffing her face with a spicy plate of Nasi Goreng, or daydreaming on a secret beach somewhere…