Public dog walking banned in Tehran: report

Officials in Iran's capital city have reportedly banned dog walking in public spaces in a move meant to discourage dog ownership in the Middle Eastern nation.

Tehran Police Chief Hossein Rahimi told the state-run Young Journalists Club, as translated by the BBC, that dogs were "creating fear and anxiety" among citizens and those in public.

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"We have received permission from the Tehran Prosecutor's Office, and will take measures against people walking dogs in public spaces, such as parks," the police chief said.

Rahimi added it's now "forbidden" to drive dogs in cars. "If this is observed, serious police action will be taken against the car-owners in question," he said.

Iran has no animal cruelty laws. In 2014, around 30 lawmakers drafted a bill that would sentence Iranians walking their dogs to 74 lashes and a fine upwards of $3,000.

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"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," the draft bill reportedly read.

The dispute over dogs stems from a culture war that dates back to the Iranian Revolution in 1979.  Dogs are often seen as "unclean" . They're also viewed as a Western import or a public nuisance that should not be kept as a domestic pet.