'It is a Sin to Walk Your Dog!' Iran's Anti-Dog Laws are Treating Pet Owners as Criminals

Published November 13th, 2019 - 10:03 GMT

Iran’s Consultative Assembly or Majlis passed a law banning dog walking in public as well as driving with a dog in the car earlier this year. Since then, the Islamic nation has been showing no mercy to dogs or animal love, allowing morality police to treat dog owners as criminals.

In a video that went viral on social media, an elderly woman is seen walking her dog when a man, presumably morality police, threatens to arrest her and take her dog away for walking him at the park. 

Dogs are widely seen as dirty by Iran’s conservative clergy, and owning dogs has been a contentious issue ever since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Pet dogs are also regarded as an emulation of western behavior.

In spite of the crackdown, pets, especially dogs, are becoming ever more popular among young Iranians.

Five years ago, Iran passed a law to protect “morality vigilantes,” religious figures and members of the public who report and reprimand others for violating Islamic codes of behavior.

"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," Tehran Police Chief Hossein Rahimi announced in January.

Nonetheless, those who are often getting in trouble for walking dogs are most often women, whose behavior and adherence to dress codes are heavily monitored by the Islamic Republic’s authorities.

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