TEHRAN (TIP): Dog lovers in Iran could face up to 74 lashes under plans by hardline lawmakers that would ban keeping the pets at home or walking them in public. A draft bill, signed by 32 members of the country’s conservative-dominated parliament, would also authorize heavy fines for offenders, the reformist Shargh newspaper reported. Dogs are regarded as unclean under Islamic custom and they are not common in Iran, although some families do keep them behind closed doors and, especially in more affluent areas, walk them outside.
Iran’s morality police, who deploy in public places, have previously stopped dog walkers and either cautioned them or confiscated the animals. But if the new bill is passed by parliament then those guilty of dog-related offences could face lashes or fines ranging from 10 million rials to 100 million rials ($370 to $3,700 at official rates). Patting dogs or coming into contact with their saliva is seen as “najis” — direct contact and behaviour that leaves the body unclean — in the Islamic republic. “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,” the draft law states.