Iranians who own dogs could be fined up to 100 million rials and punished with 74 lashes if they are found walking their pets or even keeping them at home, under a proposed law. The new bill that was presented by 32 members of Iran’s parliament alleged owning a dog as a pet is detrimental for the country’s Islamic culture, as dogs are considered unclean, even though the Koran does not necessarily forbid it. Dogs that are confiscated from their owners would automatically be transferred to a zoo or the desert, the bill explains. The notion of dogs being unclean has been conceived by Shias, a Muslim denomination that constitutes majority of Iran’s population.
An excerpt from the bill reads, “Anyone who takes a pet like a monkey or a dog in public and damages the Islamic culture or the health and tranquility of the people - particularly children and women, or attempts to buy or sell them, or keep them at their house, and not to act on the warnings issued by State Security Forces (police), would be fined between 10 to 100 million rials or would receive 74 lashes, plus the pet would be confiscated.”
Of course, the law will not be implemented upon police officers, sheepherders, farm owners and fishermen.
Owning dogs has been frowned upon in Iran for several years, especially by those who believe it is nothing but an imitation of the West. Animal rights activists on the other hand, consider this latest crackdown as Iran’s umpteenth attempt to curb its citizens’ basic freedoms.
In addition, the country has already banned drivers from travelling with pets in their cars. In 2011, authorities warned of criminalization of dog ownership after saying the growing popularity of keeping pets was becoming a cultural problem for Muslims in Iran. A year before that, Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirzi said owning dogs would lead to corruption within the family and cause damage to societal values.
“Many people in the West love their dogs more than their wives and children,” he had infamously said.
The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance then went on to ban all media from printing ads about pets.
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