CNN reports that a new law has come out in Iran’s capital, Tehran. People are to be banned from walking their dogs in public places or transporting them in a car. The ban is reportedly due to the fact that dogs cause “anxiety” and “panic” among certain members of the public and anyone who flouts the law will be dealt with severely.

Hossein Rahimi is chief of police in Tehran and he told the state news agency Young Journalists Club that police have been given permission by the judiciary to confront any pet owners seen walking their dogs in public spaces.

Dogs bring ‘panic’ and ‘anxiety’

Most of us know the average dog does anything but cause anxiety and panic among the public. In fact, friendlier mutts usually have the total opposite effect on most people. However, Rahimi said this is the case in Tehran. He went on to tell the Young Journalists club that anyone spotted walking their dogs in public will be “dealt with severely.” Rahimi added that dogs will also be banned from travelling in cars and police will confront anyone doing so in a serious way.

It makes one wonder how you can take your pet to the vet for a checkup or dog parlour for a trim if you cannot walk them and cannot transport them in the family car?

Iran discourages dog ownership

Despite the stigma attached to dogs in Islamic society, Iran’s middle class tend to embrace dogs as pets and have done so for many years. However, officials and clerics in the Islamic country have been trying to discourage dog ownership for some time.

Reuters reports that a senior Iranian cleric, Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi, in 2010 issued a “fatwa,” or religious ruling, saying dogs were “unclean” and should not be kept as pets.

At the time Shirazi said the relationship between humans and dogs was a “blind imitation of the West.” He found it appalling that many people in the West seemed to love their dogs more than they did their wives and children.

Shirazi has definitely lost out if he hasn’t discovered the unconditional love and faithfulness of a dog, which we in the evil West have known forever.

Iranian dog lovers

The Los Angeles Times speaks of Behnam Hedayat, a man who walks his dog in Tehran, as untold numbers do all over the world. Hedayat says Shika, his terrier is to him as dear as his child. He went on to say police have plenty of other things to deal with, including burglars, car robbers and muggers. Hedayat said strongly that if any policeman should give his dog problems, he will resist and fight for him with the police.

Another dog owner, Nezakat Alouloj, 60 was walking her pet in a Tehran park just before she heard about the new ban and was furious to hear the news. She said her tiny dog is her soul mate and is toilet trained. Alouloj predicts that the ban will soon be forgotten as more and more families adopt pet dogs. These dog owners are among many in middle-class Tehran who love their dogs and will fight the ban wherever they can