Iranian law proposed to ban all pets

The mocking reaction may give the legislators pause, although the hardliners consider owning such animals as anti-Muslim.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

A new Iranian law was proposed last month to make owning all pets illegal, but the backlash to it has been fierce.

So far, 75 hardliners have signed onto the bill, agreeing with its reasoning that owning rabbits, cats, dogs and the like is a “destructive social problem” that could lead eventually to a change in the Iranian-Muslim lifestyle “by exchanging people and family ties for feelings and emotional relationships with animals.”

The actual wording of the law lumps together animals that truly belong in the wild with those that are time-honored pets, naming “crocodiles, turtles, snakes, lizards, cats, mice, rabbits, dogs and other unclean animals like monkeys.”

The prohibition includes “importing, caring for, assisting with breeding, breeding, buying or selling, moving, transporting or walking and keeping” these “wild, exotic, harmful and dangerous animals at home.”

Some of the penalties included in the legislation: The fine for violation of the law can be up to 30 times the minimum wage; the animal would be confiscated; and if police stop a car with a pet in the back, the vehicle would be impounded for three months. Moreover, people owning dogs (or cats) would not be able to rent a home.

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Police tried banning dogs from public spaces in Tehran in July, reportedly without much success. RadioFreeEurope reported that month that Iranian chief prosecutor Mohammad Jafar Montazeri said that loving dogs is part of the “degenerate culture of the West,” and “should not be part of Muslims’ lives.”

The mocking reaction in social media throws doubt on whether the law will be upheld even if it does pass.

“How many times have cats tried to devour you that you see them as wild, harmful and dangerous?” one journalist tweeted in reaction to the rationalization for the law.

One woman, quoted in a combined news agency report in Walla, said people wouldn’t obey even if they are afraid of the consequences.

“Why should I imprison [my dog] at home?” she said. “The legislators probably assume that young couples today have no children because they have a pet dog, but that’s stupid. It’s not because of the dogs, but because of the economic situation that does not allow us to have children. Once they banned satellite TV broadcasts, but people kept watching them although with fear and anxiety. People will continue to keep animals at home in order to protect them.”