If Iranian lawmakers have their way, dog owners could face harsh penalties for taking Spot or Fido for a walk to the park.
The French News Agency, AFP, recently had this odd and rather unhappy news item for all animal lovers.
If the conservative parliament of the Islamic Republic of Iran has its way, dog owners may have to pay a heavy price for their pets. Hardliners have proposed a draft bill, that would keep at dogs at home and forbid owners from walking dogs in public.
That proposal has already been signed by 32 members of the parliament. Violations to the law would see dog owners face up to 72 lashes and heavy fines ranging from 10 million rials to 100 million rials ($370 to $3,700 at official rates).
The law states that:
The law states that:
"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."Dogs (and monkeys) would, the laws states, be confiscated and held in zoos, or left in forests or other wilderness areas. Even before this law, Iran's morality police were stopping dog owners and warning or confiscating the animals.
Because dogs, generally speaking, are considered unclean under Islamic custom, keeping dogs as pets is not common in the country. However, there has been a growing trend to keep dogs behind closed doors, especially for the more well-to-do families.
Despite the conservative view, the idea that dogs are unclean is not universally accepted in the Islamic world. It is, it should be noted, an interpretation of Islam.
According to other scholars, there is not one verse in the Quran where God says that dogs are dirty or that they are prohibited to keep. They argue that nothing is haram (unlawful) unless it is prohibited by God Himself, and since God describes the Quran as complete, perfect and fully detailed, thus all the prohibitions decreed by God are found in the Quran.
That's part of a larger movement to reject the authority of the customs, traditions and interpretation, known as hadith, in favor of the primary authority of the Quran
In fact the article offers another reason- other of religious concerns- for the proposed ban. Dog ownership, like satellite television, gay orientation and the Internet and a hundred other forbidden things, are all seen as un-Islamic and part of a Western cultural invasion.
The message is clear: owning a dog could be hazardous to your health. And your little monkey too.