Iran: MPs propose lashes for dog walkers

A woman pets her dog on a street in Tehran Image copyright AFP
Image caption Petting dogs could be punished by a fine and lashes under a new proposal

Dog owners in Iran could face severe penalties for walking their pets in public, under plans proposed by a group of hardline MPs, it's been reported.

Thirty-two MPs have submitted a bill to parliament which proposes a punishment of 74 lashes for people caught playing with, stroking or exercising their dogs outdoors, the US-based Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reports. The bill says such activities "harm the Islamic culture and the safety and peace of mind of other people, especially women and children". Anyone who ignores police warnings could also be fined up to 100m rials ($3,740 - £2,350) under the plans, as well as having their animal taken away. The MPs say confiscated pets should be moved to "a zoo, forest or desert", and that owners would have to foot the bill for the transfer. Some notable exceptions are mentioned in the bill, including for farmers, shepherds and licensed hunters.

Over the past few years Iranian police have been cracking down on dog walking, and some owners have been arrested, because under Iran's Islamic laws the animals are considered "unclean". But dog ownership is a growing trend in the country, particularly among the urban middle and upper classes in major cities like Tehran.

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