It’s one thing to make not cleaning up after your dog illegal, but banning dog walking altogether seems harsh, yet that’s what Tehran is implementing. Indeed, Iran’s capital city has just banned the public from walking their pet dogs as a means of discouraging dog ownership.

According to the BBC, Tehran police chief Hossein Rahimi explained to an Iranian news agency that dogs were creating “fear and anxiety” among members of the public. He said, “We have received permission from the Tehran Prosecutor’s Office, and will take measures against people walking dogs in public spaces, such as parks.”

And it’s not just parks and sidewalks, either. Rahimi further explained that it’s now also “forbidden to drive dogs around in cars and, if this is observed, serious police action will be taken against the car owners in question.”

The controversy surrounding dog ownership in Iran dates back to the 1979 Islamic Revolution; it’s said that some owners even have had their dogs confiscated. In the view of Iran’s Islamic authorities, owning a pet dog is a Western custom, and the animals are considered “unclean.”

Since 2010, the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance has banned the media from publishing any advertisement for pets or pet-related products. According the The New York Times, in 2014, a law was passed by hard liners to “increased the fines for dog owners to the equivalent of $2,500, as well as killing the animal and 60 lashes for the owner.”

It’s unclear where authorities expect people to walk their dogs, if not in public, but we wouldn’t be surprised if people have already found loopholes in this bizarre law.

H/T: BBC News