Why Iranian Lawmakers Are Attempting To Ban Puppies

Yellow Lab Mother and Puppies
“A dog will look at you as if to say, ‘What do you want me to do for you? I’ll do anything for you.’ ” —Roy Blount Jr.

In A Nutshell

In Iran, the mullahs want to eliminate man’s best friend, and they’re willing to kill some of the dogs to do it. In November 2014, 32 lawmakers introduced a bill to fine any person who buys or sells a pet dog. The human offender can get up to 74 lashes, too. In recent years, the authorities have begun to target lap dogs, sometimes snatching the poor things directly from their owners’ arms. Iran wants to ban ownership of animals that are unclean from a religious standpoint, endanger health, or disturb a person’s peace.

The Whole Bushel

Crazy bans by dictators are nothing new. Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan, who died in 2006, prohibited gold teeth, lip syncing, ballet, circuses, and playing car radios.

In North Korea, women can be chased down the street by professional trouser hunters for violating a ban on wearing slacks. This law has been in place since the 1970s but is only enforced sporadically. Most women in pants know how to avoid the authorities. If caught, a woman is investigated for a few hours. Then she must endure a criticism session where she works or lives. Tight trousers are worse than baggy ones. And, of course, even men can’t be seen in blue jeans, the symbol of US imperialism.

In Iran, the mullahs want to eliminate man’s best friend and they’re willing to kill some of the dogs to do it. Apparently, these men have never looked a dog straight in the eyes. Recently, Japanese researchers found that when people and their dogs gaze into each other’s eyes, they bond like mother and baby because each experiences a rush of the love hormone, oxytocin. “If they stand up, the implications of these findings are far-reaching,” wrote Evan MacLean and Brian Hare of the Duke Canine Cognition Center. “The benefits of assistance dogs for individuals with autism or post-traumatic stress disorder—conditions for which oxytocin is currently being used as an experimental treatment—may arise partly through these social pathways.”

The lawmakers in Iran don’t care. In November 2014, 32 of them introduced a bill to fine any person who buys or sells a pet dog. The human offender can get up to 74 lashes, too. The authorities in Iran also want to ban pooches in public. The political will to enforce such a ban waxes and wanes with the mood of the government. They’ve always shot stray dogs on sight. But more recently, the authorities have begun to target lap dogs, sometimes snatching the poor things directly from their owners’ arms.

The problem is that Iranian citizens love their dogs just like their Western counterparts.

One of the sponsors of the proposed law, Ahman Salek, accuses people who own dogs of renouncing the beliefs of the Islamic Revolution. He believes that pet owners are lonely and lacking affection or they want to emulate a Western lifestyle. Neither reason is acceptable to Iranian authorities. They believe that the Internet and foreign media are wrongly influencing Iranian citizens to associate with dogs. Specifically, Salek says that the West erroneously teaches people that dogs will bring them peace.

However, he denies that his bill is only about avoiding Western influences. There’s also the pollution and diseases that dogs bring into their owners’ homes. Finally, Iranian dog owners are unable to pray because the animals’ hair gets on their clothes, making the garments unclean.

Salek says that dogs should never be kept at home. Instead, their place is in a field or police station. If the anti-puppy bill passes, Iranian lawmakers will have three months to draw up a list of banned animals. Salek cites lizards as another example. The criteria for inclusion on the list are those animals that are unclean from a religious standpoint, endanger health, or disturb a person’s peace.

Show Me The Proof

The Telegraph: Saparmurat Niyazov
NK News: No bikes, no trousers: North Korea’s strange rules for women
The Guardian: Dogs are man’s best friend thanks to bonding hormone, research shows
The Daily Beast: The Iranian Mullahs’ Crazy War on Lap Dogs

  • guest

    I bet this all started because his neighbor’s dog kept barking at 2 in the morning every day and my city is about to pass a law that will fine an owner $500 if there dog barks without reason after quiet hours here that means 10 pm. It’s actually been passed by multiple cities already though it’s sporadically enforced

    • OldBoris

      It started when Muhammed decided he didn’t like dogs, so he included the banning of dogs (alongside the banning of pictures of humans and animals and the banning of alcohol) to his list of lifestyle rules for Muslims. The Iranian government is not making a secret of the fact that this is a major consideration for them.

      You know, Muslims often say that Muhammed was the best man who ever lived. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t. No man who bans booze, puppies and even pictures can be that great. Oh, and he was a psychotic slaver in the seventh-century Arabian wasteland. His army was a bit like the Legion from Fallout: New Vegas.

      • rais

        The reason they say Muhammad is so great is because they’ve been brought up with that idea all their lives, with some Muslim countries like KSA even banning proseltyzation by other religions/ideologies to make their world into an echo-chamber for Islamic ideas. Kinda like how we’d be praising Hitler if he actually won the war and took over the west, or like how there are people praising Stalin or Mao. Victors write history. Muhammad was able to create a religion that managed to gain victories in countries that are Muslim now. Therefore, he was able to pass himself off as the 7th century version of “great leader” in the eyes of Islamic history, while only managing the perception of being the 7th century version of Kim Jong Un to non-brainwashed outsiders.

  • oouchan

    So stupid. This is what happens when the uneducated are in charge.

    Idiots.

    • guest

      Ya it’s really sad considering how educated the average person is in Iran yet they’really purposely kept out of politics so the fanatics can run the country

      • oouchan

        So very true.

    • OldBoris

      Ali Khamenei, the man to whom the mullahs answer, studied in Russia and speaks three languages fluently.
      They are educated – they just don’t share our values.

      • oouchan

        No…he isn’t educated. Having a degree does not make you educated.
        Sticking to dogmas and refusing to learn about the world makes you an idiot…like that guy.

    • polika

      They will do what ever they want. Because it is their country. They will ban the stuff they don’t like, same as all other countries.

      • oouchan

        Yes. And it’s still stupid.

  • inconspicuous detective

    how could they declare war on man’s best friend?!

    • Paul McPhillips

      Muslims are heartless. They believe animals are essentially robot-like creatures (no thoughts feelings or emotions) put here to serve us.

  • Although the article itself is interesting, this is another bad, bad title. It sounds as if Iran is banning only puppies when, in fact, it is all dogs. If this Nut was called Why Iran is Banning Dogs it would be every bit as attractive an article. Stupid titles don’t add anything to the site.