Police in the Blahbatuh sub-district of Gianyar regency have been receiving flower boards from animal lovers and activists these past few weeks, who are thanking officers for enforcing animal welfare laws in a recent case of animal abuse in the area.
Speaking to NusaBali on Tuesday, Blahbatuh Police Chief Yoga Widyatmoko said they have been receiving dozens of flower boards – traditionally given to express congratulations or condolences – from animal lovers.
"We've actually had to decline some of them because it's crowding the police station," Yoga said.
Last month, a three-month old dog died after it was allegedly abused by a shopkeeper at a local market in Blahbatuh. Police then apprehended a man identified by his initials INM and later charged him with violation of Article 302 of Indonesia's criminal code on animal abuse, which only carries a maximum prison sentence of nine months.
INM was not detained because his possible criminal charge is under five years, but Yoga said the case has been handed over to prosecutors and is ready to go to trial.
According to local animal rights organization Bali Animal Defender, whose members accompanied the dog owner to file a police report, INM saw the dog pass by his shop and pulled it by the leg before smashing it on the ground. INM then hit the dog with a metal stick.
The dog was taken to the vet after the incident, but it unfortunately succumbed to its injuries after an hour. The vet reportedly concluded that the dog died from a severe head injury and other physical traumas.
The flower boards at Blahbatuh Police Station contain expressions of gratitude, many of which also come with messages urging that animal abusers must not escape the law.
"[The flower arrangements] are a form of appreciation from dog lovers with how the case has been handled," Yoga said.
Activists in the country have long lamented the lack of enforcement of laws protecting animals. However, they have recently put renewed pressure on the authorities to prosecute suspected animal abusers, such as in a recent case in Java in which a man and his friends killed a cat by forcing it to drink liquor.