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Tehran ban on dogs in cars and public parks

Black and white Australian shepherd with owner
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Iranian police chief warns dog lovers to expect to be ‘dealt with severely’ if seen in public or in a car with their best furry friend. 

 

By Nick Whittle Published on 4 Feb 2019

Long-standing efforts of public officials and religious notables to ban dogs from public places have finally come into force in the country’s capital Tehran. Owners of dogs caught walking their dogs or travelling with them in a car now face severe penalties, according to sources in the city. 

Recently, state news agency Young Journalists Club reported that Tehran’s Prosecutors Office had given its stamp of approval for the crackdown. Today the city’s police chief Hossein Rahimi gave a stark warning to dog lovers caught flouting the law promising to take ‘serious police action’. 

In Iran, the punishment for petty law breakers may include the administration of lashes or a hefty fine. 

According to some interpretations of the Koran, dogs are ‘unclean’. On the whole Iranians avoid keeping dogs at home, but some residents especially of Tehran’s wealthier districts are avid dog lovers. 

The new law is thought to also have been buoyed by the efforts of high-ranking clerics to label dog ownership as akin to a ‘cultural invasion’ from the west. Many see pet ownership, especially dogs, as an imitation of western culture.

In 2010, senior Iranian cleric Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi issued a fatwa, or religious ruling, that dogs are unclean and not to be kept as pets. According to Reuters, Shirazi also remarked that, ‘there are lots of people in the West who love their dogs more than their wives and children.’

Some regard the recent embargo on dog walking as part of wider efforts to bring a total ban of private dog ownership to Iran. 

Police chief Rahimi has defended his government’s position. According to CNN, Rahimi said: ‘Certain people who bring their dogs to public places cause panic and anxiety among the public. People who walk their dogs in public places shall be dealt with severely.’