- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 27, 2013

Iran authorities, fed up with dogs as pets, have began rounding them up and sending them to a dog prison, where conditions are harsh and food is scarce.

A rise in pet ownership has sparked the recent crackdown by authorities in the country, which is practically a no-pet zone. Few keep dogs for pets in Iran because tradition views them as unclean, though guard dogs and working dogs have been tolerated, according to Agence France-Presse.

Authorities warned in April that police would begin confronting dog walkers. Even animals riding in cars are being yanked and imprisoned, and the owners’ vehicles impounded.

“As summer approaches, we will make an effort to stop people from bringing out their dogs in their cars or parading them on the streets to show off,” Ahmad-Reza Radan, deputy commander of the Iranian police, told news site Al-Monitor. “We won’t have any of that.”

The dogs are generally sentenced to several days in the jail, Al-Monitor reported. Many never emerge, dying behind bars from starvation or dehydration. At least 30 are known to have died in one jail outside Tehran in recent weeks.

But dog owners are in despair. Some are able to spring their dogs with a sort of bail payment, but others have to sweat out the sentence and see if the animal survives.