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Dog-walking in the capital city has been outlawed by the Islamic government of Iran, in yet another crack-down against pet ownership.
Tehran’s dog owners will no longer be allowed to walk their pooches in public spaces and parks, and will even face penalties if spotted transporting their pets in a car.
The BBC reported that Tehran’s chief of police, Brigadier-General Hossein Rahimi, announced: ‘We have received permission from the Tehran Prosecutor’s Office, and will take measures against people walking dogs in public spaces, such as parks’.
Speaking to the Young Journalists Club, set up by the oppressive and secretive regime allegedly to train young journalists, he said the ban had been introduced because dogs ‘create fear and anxiety’ among members of the public.
Turning the screw further against dog owners – predominantly Tehran’s more Western-aligned middle classes – he added that driving with a dog in the car would provoke ‘serious police action’.
He said: ‘It is forbidden to drive dogs around in cars and, if this is observed, serious police action will be taken against the car-owners in question’.
Ownership of dogs as pets has not been banned outright by the regime, but since the Islamic revolution of 1979 keeping dogs has been contentious.
Dogs are one of a handful of things – including pigs and dead bodies but also blood, urine and faeces – considered irredeemably and intrinsically unclean – or ‘najis’ – according to ancient Islamic law.
Owners have had their dogs confiscated and, nine years ago, the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance banned the media from publishing any advertisements for pets or pet-related products.
Five years ago there were even moves in the Islamic Consultative Assembly, Iran’s Parliament, to sentence dog walkers to fines and even corporal punishment.
The 2014 move by around 30 lawmakers would have sentence Iranians walking their dogs to 74 lashes and a fine in excess of £2,000.
The bill’s language included the foreboding declaration: ‘Anyone who walks or plays with animals such as dogs or monkeys in public places will damage Islamic culture, as well as the hygiene and peace of others, especially women and children,’ according to Fox News.
The latest moves do not seemed to have provoked a social media backlash although one Twitter user asked whether the people of Tehran will be forced to ride camels next.