Bali’s Stray Animals Find Love Through Little Steps Matter

(Above Photo Credit: Little Steps Matter Foundation_Facebook.com)

Little Steps Matter was founded by Sabine Kaufmann, (pictured above- front row center), who describes herself as a lifelong animal advocate and defender of their rights. When she was young and living in Germany, she brought many needy animals home.

As she got older, she developed a connection to horses. It was a passion that eventually led her to start running her own stables.

In 1989, Kaufmann found herself living in Bali. She saw how many injured and sick cats and dogs were roaming the streets, and she knew that she could do something to change their lives. Before founding Little Steps Matter, she did the healing and rehabilitation work to find these animals loving homes.

Little Steps Matter became an official non-profit foundation in 2016. It is a family-run operation where a patient and empathic approach to educating others about animal care changes lives in Bali every day.

Check out this heartwarming story of Ayla, one of many Little Steps Matter rescues, where they rehabilitated her back to health and happiness and found her a loving home.

How Bad Is the Stray Pet Problem in Bali?

The stray pet problem in Bali is multifaceted and has many root causes. One of the main factors contributing to the issue is the lack of responsible pet ownership. [1]

Many pet owners on the island do not spay or neuter their pets, leading to uncontrolled breeding and overpopulation of animals.  Some choose to abandon their animals when they cannot adequately care for them, adding to the stray population.

In an effort to curb the numbers from rising even more, Little Steps Matters offers free mass sterilization clinics to help combat this cause.  The impact of offering these sterilizations has roughly led to the prevention of over 2.5 Million unwanted puppies and kittens in just 6 years.  Here are some images from one of their more recent clinics:

July 2023 Bali, Indonesia: Little Steps Matter Sterilization Clinic for Dog and Cats. Photo Credit: Little Steps Matter Foundation_ Facebook.com

There are few pet shelters and support organizations on the island, and those that do exist are often overwhelmed with animals in need of care.

In addition to the sterilization they offer, Little Steps Matter is also working to provide care for stray animals and to promote responsible pet ownership, but more resources and support are needed to effectively tackle the problem.

Little Steps Matter Provides Direct Support to Homeless Animals

Each day, the number of stray cats and dogs across Bali increases. That means each one faces a greater struggle to survive with each tomorrow.

They start battling for food scraps whenever they appear. These animals deal with mange, ticks, fleas, and worms. [2]

Sadly, many of the animals that Little Steps Matter interacts with daily are generally unloved. Most experienced some form of trauma from abuse. That means there is minimal trust in human interactions, which makes the job more challenging.

To begin the trust-building process, Kaufmann and her team deliver wet and dry food to neighborhoods across Tabanan.

They aren’t a formal shelter program, but they still provide essential treatments like flea removal or deworming.

It’s not just street animals that benefit from their services. Little Steps Matter supports local families who cannot afford the food or medication necessary for their animals to experience good health. They also provide care advice.

Statistics on Stray Pets in Bali

Information from the P2PL division of the Provincial Health Office in Bali shows an estimate of 500,000 wild dogs that require care. There is approximately one stray canine for every eight people.

Bali emphasizes elimination as a population control strategy, especially in areas like Regency and Buleleng, as conflicts between people and animals rise. The risk of rabies in some neighborhoods is extensive. [3]

Four other steps, including socialization, traffic control, vaccination, and sterilization, are often more effective at controlling the homeless animal population. [4]

Little Steps Matter organizes monthly mass sterilization efforts with Bali Pet Crusaders for street cats and dogs and those owned by local families that cannot afford the surgery. [5]

They look for animals who require the procedure leading up to the sterilization days, going from house to house to register pets. If someone cannot bring their cats or dogs to the location, Little Steps Matter organizes help with transportation.

After each procedure, the non-profit foundation follows up with each animal and provides post-op care when required.

All procedures are carried out by professional veterinarians. Free rabies vaccinations are supplied by the Department of Agriculture simultaneously.

Education and Adoption Services Are Available

Many animals in Bali need help to escape neglect and abuse. The long-term goal of Little Steps Matter is to change the lives of those that have homes, but still don’t experience the love they deserve.

“We show families how they can treat their animals ethically, provide healthy but affordable diets and clean drinking water,” their website says. “We urge them not to place the animals in cages, provide basic medical treatment for when they get sick, and emphasize the importance and benefits of sterilization and vaccination.”

Even with these efforts, thousands of cats and dogs are abandoned or have always been homeless. Adopting them into a loving forever home is always the priority because that activity ends the cycle of suffering.

If you'd like to support Little Steps Matter, whether you live in Bali or abroad, you can do so by volunteering, sponsoring, donating, fundraising, buying a Tenete Designer Pet bed, or attending one of our Meditation with Horses sessions.  Visit their website to learn more about how you can participate in changing these animals' lives forever: www.littlestepsmatter.org/how-to-help



[1] https://asia.nikkei.com/Life-Arts/Life/Bali-s-dog-problem-strays-out-of-control ; [2] https://www.jtgtravel.com/asia/indonesia/stray-dogs-in-bali/ ; [3]https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g294226-i7220-k14134719-Stray_Dogs_in_Bali-Bali.html ; [4] https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/petcare/spaying-and-neutering ; [5] https://www.balipetcrusaders.org