Elizabeth Haggarty Toronto Star
If you’re a poodle, get out of Iran.
Actually, if you fit the description of any four-legged tail wagger with a propensity for chasing Peugeots, you are not welcome in that country.
Lawmakers in the nation’s capital have proposed a bill that would make owning a dog illegal.
What do Iranian politicians have against pet pooches?
They’re un-Islamic, disease-ridden and short-legged.
“I would like to thank the honourable police and judges and all those who worked to arrest dog lovers and to confiscate short-legged dogs in this city,” cleric Gholamreza Hassani declared in the city of Urumiyeh.
“Happy are those who became martyrs and did not witness the playing with dogs! Now in our society, women wear hats and men hold dogs!” he added.
Following the advice of the clergy, who consider pet dogs best avoided, few Iranians traditionally kept the animals in their homes, but over the last 15 years there has been an influx of small-dog clutchers and puppy walkers in the country’s cities as the middle class mimics the Western culture seen in movies and on satellite TV.
“Global norms and values capture the heart of people all around the world, and Iran is no exception,” Omid Memarian, a prominent Iranian journalist told Time magazine. “This is very frightening for Iranian officials, who find themselves in a cultural war with the West and see what they’re offering as an ‘Islamic lifestyle’ failing measurably.”
And while lawmakers have largely held off punishing dog lovers for the last decade, the rising number of toy Russian terriers and well-fed dachshunds finally got to be too much.
The bill states dog ownership “poses a cultural problem, a blind imitation of the vulgar culture of the West.”
The proposed legislation outlines specific punishments for “the walking and keeping” of “impure and dangerous animals” for the first time, including confiscation of offending animal and fines of $100 to $500.
After the Islamic Revolution in the 1970s, the Iranian authorities periodically intervened to rid Iran of pet dog ownership, sometimes seizing animals in the street or publishing pamphlets that highlighted the perils of pooch harbouring through The Islamic Propaganda Office.
“Sometimes they go after satellite dishes, sometimes they go after the way women are dressed on the street, and sometimes they go after dogs,” Artin Zaman, a founder of the Iranian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, told The New York Times in 2001. “It’s a way of keeping people distracted so they don’t think about bigger problems.”
Heavy fines and dog poaching by police aren’t the only perils in place for dog owners. A bustling black market in the pets (whose sale is illegal) can make walking your dog a dangerous venture, with pets being snatched away by men on scooters to be sold at downtown bazaars.
While targeting dogs, the legislation’s broad use of “impure and dangerous animals” could easily be interpreted to include cats, although feline lovers are being left off the pet-fraternizing hook — for now
"While targeting dogs,"
Don't know if this applicable in the context
but maybe the only thing worse than yapping dogs in the neighborhood is boom-boxes.
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