Now is not a good time to be a pet owner in Iran. The rigid, hardline Islamic state has come up with another enemy that threatens the morals and social fabric of the state. This time, the enemy is a dog (no, really).
Authorities in Central Iran have begun a crackdown against dogs kept fondly by many families in the area. After exposed hair and opinions, dogs now offend the narrow, irrational sensibilities of Iranian authorities.
“If we find out that anyone is keeping and caring for dogs and so is promoting vulgar Western culture, we will deal with them firmly,” local prosecutor Mohsen Boosaidi told Fars news agency.
An unnamed dog owner in Shahin Shahr, Central Iran, is lamenting the loss of his dog who was taken away last week. The dog was taken by officials under the pretense of vaccinations. After the officials failed to return his dog, the owner went to a vet's office where he was told there was no record of his case.
News agencies from Iran report the disappearance was part of a larger crackdown.
“Ever since our dog was taken away, you only hear the sound of crying and sobbing in our house,” the owner said.
Dogs are considered ritually 'unclean' in Islam. Despite this, many Muslims have kept dogs for protection and companionship, although making sure that the dogs do not enter the premises of their home. Whatever the verdict of Islam on dogs' cleanliness may be, the religion does not allow for cruelty towards animals. Many enlightened Islamic scholars have pointed to the life of Prophet (PBUH), who never hurt an animal.
But Iran, a country where many women have had to go through mandatory, humiliating 'virginity tests' and where Instagram posts could land you in jail, has found the 'only remaining' problem of dogs.