A 70-year-old Iranian man was arrested and sentenced to four months in jail and 30 lashes for walking his dog, Adnkronos.com reported Tuesday. Police caught the man on the street with his dog in Shahr Rey, a suburb of Tehran.
Owners of domestic animals are forbidden from taking them on the streets of the city because Islam considers dogs to be impure. An Islamic judge later charged the man for "disturbing the public order,” Adnkronos.com reported.
Despite repeated warnings by the police, dog owners continue to defy authorities by taking their dogs outside their homes. Typical punishment for people caught with dogs outside is a fine or the "detention" of their animals in a pound, Adnkronos.com reported.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently provoked debate in Iran about dog ownership when he took possession of four guard dogs, bought in Germany for approximately $161,040 each.
The dogs are at the centre of a theological controversy because Islam considers dogs to be impure.
For this reason, the government has banned owners of domestic animals from taking them on the streets of the city, and owners risk fines or the 'detention' of their animals in a pound.
"The purchase of these dogs was authorised by a fatwa issued by several ayatollahs who approved the use of these animals if the only goal was to guarantee personal security and not infringe on any religious rule," said Iran's semi-official news agency Fars.