City bans dog-walking in public places to discourage dog ownership

Authorities in Tehran, the capital city of Iran, have enforced a ban on dog walking in public places like streets and parks. The bizarre measure is part of a long-standing effort to discourage dog ownership in the Islamic country...


Authorities in Tehran, the capital city of Iran, have enforced a ban on dog walking in public places like streets and parks. The bizarre measure is part of a long-standing effort to discourage dog ownership in the Islamic country.

Tehran’s police chief, Hossein Rahimi, recently announced that he has received permission from the Tehran Prosecutor’s Office to take measures against people walking dogs in public spaces, such as parks. These measures include fines and confiscation. Apparently, dogs create “fear and anxiety” among members of the public, but many consider this recent ban to be yet another effort by Iranian authorities to discourage dog ownership. Canines are considered unclean or impure by the country’s religious leaders, and a symbol of the pro-Western policy adopted by the old Monarchy dethroned during the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

“Certain people who bring their dogs to public places cause panic and anxiety among the public,” General Rahimi told the Young Journalist Club agency. “The police will take measures against the owners. People who walk their dogs in public places shall be dealt with severely.”

But it gets worse for dog owners in Iran’s capital. Rahimi added that apart from punishing those people who walk their pets in public places, the police will also act against those who transport them in their cars.

“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,” he told YJC.

The recent measure echoes the growing number of complaints from both hard-line politicians and overzealous members of the public. For example, Hamidreza Taraghi, a conservative politician, said that it is impossible for people to pray in places where dogs are present and that their owners spend more money on them than on other more important things.

“Religiously speaking, wherever a dog sits or walks, we cannot pray,” said in an interview. “We are experiencing economic difficulties but the dog lovers are spending billions of dollars each year for dog food. We need that money for more important things.”

“Dog owners ignore the commands of Islam, and influenced by western satellite channels bring their pets to the park causing distress for the other visitors,” a religious person told Iran’s Fars news agency. “We call upon the authorities to firmly deal with these dogs.”

As previously mentioned, the ban on dog walking is seen as another effort to discourage ownership of canines in Iran. In 2010, a senior Iranian cleric issued a fatwa (religious ruling) that dogs were not to be kept as pets because they are considered unclean. But despite such measures, dog ownership remains very popular in cities like Tehran, with many owners saying they’d rather pay fines or even go to jail than part with their pets.



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