Iranian Dog Owners Could Face 74 Lashes

Iranian Dog Owners Could Face 74 Lashes

Dog owners in Iran could face up to 74 lashes, just for keeping them in their home or taking them out for walks.

A draft law proposed by 32 members of parliament would also bring in heavy fines for those convicted of owning the animals, according to Iran's Shargh newspaper.

Keeping a pet dog is not common in Iran and many people who follow Islamic culture see the animals as unclean.

However, some families keep them behind closed doors and in more affluent areas walk them outside.

If the bill is passed, those found to be owning a dog could be given lashes or a fine of up to 100 million rials (£2,360).

"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 law states.

Animals will be confiscated and sent to zoos, forests of the wilderness, the proposal adds.

Police, farmers and hunters with working dogs would be exempt from the penalties.

Iran's police chief General Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam warned two years ago that officers would "deal with those who carry dogs in public".

And the country's morality police have stopped dog walkers and sometimes take away their pets.

A similar law has previously been proposed but was dismissed by the 290-member parliament.

Some of Iran's leaders are concerned about the influence of Western culture on the Islamic Republic.

Earlier this month, a British woman was jailed for 12 months after being arrested trying to attend a men's volleyball match in Tehran.

And in May, six Iranians were sent to prison after filming themselves dancing along to the Pharrell Williams track Happy without their hair covered.

In 2012, scores of coffee shops across Tehran were reportedly raided "for not following Islamic values" and some female customers arrested.

Western haircuts - including ponytails and mullets - were targeted by the culture ministry two years earlier as it issued a list of acceptable hairstyles .

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