Dog owners could face arrest and 74 lashes if they are caught walking their pets or even keeping one in their home under a proposed new Iranian law.
A bill before the country’s parliament says that keeping a dog as a pet harms Iranian society because the animals are “unclean”. Those who break the law will be subject to a fine of up to 100 million rials (around £2,000/$3,700) or 74 lashes. Pets may also be confiscated and sent to a zoo.
The Daily Mail reports that a section of the bill says: “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.”
Farmers, shepherds and police officers will be exempt from the law.
The bill comes as Iranian conservatives try to crack down on what they regard as unwanted Western influences. Authorities have already banned pet owners from travelling in cars with their animals, and three years ago tried to ban dog ownership, saying that owning pets “poses a cultural problem, blind imitation of the vulgar Western culture”.
Iran’s morality police have previously targeted dog owners, cautioning them for taking their dogs out in public and sometimes confiscating them. Police chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam has warned that he would crack down on people who take dogs out in public, while Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi has also issued a fatwa against dog ownership.
It is not yet clear whether the bill will pass, but as the Iranian parliament is dominated by conservatives, it stands a good chance.