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Dog Gone or a Dog of a Different Color?

Brown, Red and Black Dogs are Fast Disappearing to Meet Demand for Bali Sacrificial Offerings.

(7/19/2008) A heavy schedule of Balinese sacrificial ceremonies or mecaru over the coming few months have placed the lives of dogs of certain colors in extreme jeopardy. Ritual dictates that blang bungkem, bang bungkem and selem bungkem or brown, red or black dogs, respectively, be sacrificed as part of these ceremonies intended to create harmony and balance in the cosmos.

According to Bisnis Bali, dogs of any of these three colors are now in very high demand, fetching top dollar during the current dewasa ayu period of ritual offerings. Demand for the dogs is also being fed by the high number of cremations traditionally held at this time of year and the requirement to hold a mecaru soon after a ngaben or cremation ceremony.

According to a "dog dealer" interviewed by Bisnis Bali - the brown, red or black dogs are currently fetching a price of between Rp. 250,000 (US$27) to Rp. 300,000 (US$32.50).

The dog supplier said past efforts to breed dogs of the specified color have met with mixed success due to the constant demand for the dogs and "must have" attitude of the locals which tends to thwart efforts to establish a viable pool of breeding stock.

Meanwhile, dog grooming parlor across the island are reporting a brisk business in handling requests for dye jobs to tranform brown, red and black dogs into less dangerous colors. In the words of one dog groomer, "it's a matter of dye or die."