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Owning A Dog In Iran May Soon Be Against The Law

Is this woman walking her dog in Tehran a future criminal?
Is this woman walking her dog in Tehran a future criminal?

The Iranian government considers it a particularly depraved and un-Islamic vice: the keeping of pet dogs.

And if lawmakers in Tehran have their way, dog ownership may soon be considered a criminal act.

The proposed legislation for the first time outlines specific punishments for “the walking and keeping” of “impure and dangerous animals,” a definition that could feasibly include cats but for the time being seems targeted at dogs. The law would see the offending animal confiscated, the leveling of a $100-to-$500 fine on the owner, but leaves the fate of confiscated dogs uncertain. “Considering the several thousand dogs in Tehran alone, the problem arises as to what is going to happen to these animals,” Hooman Malekpour, a veterinarian in Tehran.

In past years, animal-rights activists in Iran have persuasively argued that sporadic campaigns against dog ownership are politically motivated and unlawful, since the prohibition against dogs surfaces in neither the country’s civil laws nor its Islamic criminal codes. Islam, by custom however, does consider dogs najes, or unclean, and for the past century cultural mores kept dog ownership down to minuscule numbers.

That has changed however, in the past 15 years with the rise of an urban middle class eager to mimic the Western culture they see on their satellite TVs where happy children frolic with dogs in parks and affluent families treat them like adorable children. These days, lap dogs rival designer sunglasses as the upper-middle-class Iranian’s accessory of choice.

Yet along with all of Iran’s other serious problems such as joblessness and the perilous state of the country’s economy, dog owners will soon have to ask themselves if keeping their Shih Tzu or Poodle is worth the added worry. Sadly if this proposed bill is passed, it seems their beloved dogs may face the same fate as the hundreds of street dogs that the government regularly sweeps from the streets of Tehran.

“Many in Tehran and other big cities find the killing of street dogs offensive and cruel,” says Omid Memarian, a prominent Iranian journalist specializing in human rights. “It’s like the Iranian people and officials live in two different worlds.”

Story By Elaine Furst For Dog Files

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Michael Haslam
10 years ago

It’s a scary world we live in. It’s the reason we should all fight any erosion in our rights concerning dog ownership. Every leash law, dog ban, BSL leglistation is a step on the road to this.

Aunty Tam
Aunty Tam
10 years ago

The Saluki breed is not considered “unclean” in the Islamic faith… It’s just a political jab at those who mimic the Western culture….

Bouncing Baxter
Bouncing Baxter
10 years ago

Unfortunately, if this becomes law (which I think is so barbaric!!), I can see a mass murder of all dogs. Again, does the term “Nazi Concentration/Gas Chamber” ring a bell?

mah
mah
10 years ago

I live in Iran and know they cant ban owning dogs for a long time! I see dogs everywhere in parks, streets..

Cjustpeachie
Cjustpeachie
10 years ago

I HOPE YOU ARE RIGHT MAH!! THERE IS A LOT OF EVILNESS IN THE WORLD TOWARD ANIMALS AND IT WOULD BE JUST HORRIBLE IF THE IRANIANS WOULD LET THEIR GOV’T TAKE AWAY THEIR PETS AND SLAUGHTER THEM. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS WORLD?? WHEN ARE PEOPLE GOING TO LEARN TO LOVE AND NOT HATE..TO DO GOOD AND NOT EVIL??

mah
mah
10 years ago
Reply to  Cjustpeachie

This is not true!! This law doesn’t mean they take your dogs and slaughter them! according to Islam Dogs are unclean (doesn’t make sense for me but I respect others opinions as long as they don’t hurt others). I know the government is not concerned about Islamic rules but they don’t hate dogs! many people don’t have dogs in Iran and dont think it is a good idea to keep dogs but this doesn’t mean they hate them and want to kill or abuse them!.. Most of them think it is better to let animals live in natural environment. I know people never let them kill or abuse any of these animals.

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