For people around the world, owning a dog comes as a rite of passage. However in Iran, lawmakers are trying to pass a new bill that would harshly punish anyone who buys, sells or walks a dog in public with either a fine ranging from 10 to 100 million rials (NIS 142 to NIS 14,177) or 74 lashes, according to a report by the National Council of Resistance of Iran.
According to an English translation of the bill, proposed by 32 members of Iran's parliament, a law like this would chastise “[a]nyone who takes a pet like a monkey or a dog in public and damages the Islamic culture or the health and tranquility of the people - particularly children and women."
In addition to physical or monetary discipline, the pets would be taken away and put in a zoo or what is described as "a desert," with the owner footing the bill for the animal's transfer.
The proposed legislation seemed to say that punishment will only be given to those who continue to break the law after receiving a warning from police, though details of what type of warning police would give was not described.
In response, the NCRI said “The sporadic and politically motivated campaigns against dog ownership are aimed at further suppressing the youth and women in Iran who have, in past few weeks, held protests against the acid attacks on women that have been carried out by state-sponsored gangs.”
In the past year, Iranians have been punished for "crimes" that go against the conservative Iranian laws. In May, six young men and women were given jail time and lashes for creating a spoof of Pharrell's "Happy" music video and on Sunday, a British-Iranian woman was sentenced to a year in jail for attending a volleyball game.
A group of Iranian MPs has proposed making it a criminal offence to keep dogs as pets or walk them in public, with offenders subject to 74 lashes or a fine.
“Walking and playing with animals such as dogs and monkeys outdoors and in public places are harmful to the health and the peace of other people, especially kids and women, and are against our Islamic culture,” the bill says.
Iranian police forces, licensed hunters, farmers and shepherds are exempted from the punishment, according to the bill, which aims at cracking down on people who take their pets outdoors.
According to Islamic custom, dogs are unclean. Iranians avoid keeping them at home in general, though a minority, especially in north Tehran’s wealthy districts, enjoy keeping pets.
Iran’s morality police, deployed in public places, have previously cracked down on dog owners, cautioning them or confiscating their animals. They also caution people whose clothes or hairstyles are deemed inappropriate.
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