Barn cat proved no match for live wire

Charlie Powell

Before you reach for your box of rocks to throw at me, know that I have an Iranian cousin by marriage. I hold no grudge against Iranian people or the Islamic faith.

A proposed law making its way to the Iranian Parliament would declare dogs as “unclean,” in much the same way that pigs are described in the Islamic way of life. A total of 75 members of Parliament (25 percent) have signed a document entitled, “Support for the rights of the population in relation to harmful and dangerous animals.”

In the introduction of the text, the authors condemn the practice of humans living with domesticated animals as a “destructive social problem.” The threat, they say, comes from people bonding with pets which they say will lead to a gradual change in the, “Iranian and Islamic way of life.”

They go on to say that letting this camel’s nose under the tent, so to speak, “will replace human and family relationships with feelings and emotional relationships with animals.”

I don’t know about you, but I have a few relatives that I want to replace with pets. Just because I am related to them does not mean they get a free ticket on the family carousel. Similarly, not every animal one encounters should be given a free pass to your heart.

Take those people who insist on getting out of their cars to approach bison in Yellowstone National Park. Many get gored. Some die. Sorry, you lose, as the bison was just doing what a bison does. The same goes for surfers and sharks. Most surfers I’ve met recognize they are guests in the shark’s domain and are there but by the grace of the fishes’ state of engorgement.

More to the point are those that bring a known dangerous dog (not a breed) into their home with only love and compassion to steer their future training of the rescued animal. Nope, leave that to trained experts who know and understand such canines. They can actually help the animal.

The proposed Iranian law would prohibit, “importing, raising, assisting in the breeding of, breeding, buying or selling, transporting, driving or walking, and keeping in the home wild, exotic, harmful and dangerous animals.” The proposed list of animals to be included are, “crocodiles, turtles, snakes, lizards, cats, mice, rabbits, dogs and other unclean animals as well as monkeys.”

The last part of the phrase kind of throws me a bit. There’s a catch-all there for the guards to kick down the door and take any animal deemed “unclean.” Interesting. Having worked as a paraprofessional in human medicine, I can attest that the most unclean animal I’ve ever encountered were, sadly, humans affected by mental health disorders and or substance abuse.

Second, what’s the deal with monkeys? Are they just tacked on here to remedy an oversight or are they meant to be “unclean,” too? Monkeys make bad pets for most people because they are pound-for-pound so strong and so intelligent. Even a small primate can rip off your face and kick it down the street before you know it’s gone.

Penalties under the new law would charge 10 to 30 times the minimum monthly working wage. In Iran, that’s about $98. In addition, if the animal graced the inside of your vehicle, the conveyance is confiscated for 90 days.

A Tehran woman named Mina was quoted in a France 24 news piece on the matter. “The MPs probably assume that young couples today don’t have children because they have a pet dog, but that’s stupid.”

She needs to visit Seattle.

Powell is the public information officer for the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, which provides this column as a community service. For questions or concerns about animals you’d like to read about, email

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