"Iranian officials say that according to Islam, dogs are considered to be dirty animals, and people who own dogs are viewed as being under Western influence. Some conservative clerics have denounced dog ownership as "morally depraved" and say it should be banned.
"Friday prayer leader Hojatoleslam Gholamreza Hassani, who is known for his hard-line stances, was quoted a few years ago as saying that all dog owners and their dogs should be arrested.
"In the past, dog owners have received warnings or were forced to pay fines for having a pet dog. Despite such harassment, dog ownership has increased over the years, especially among young people in Tehran...
"The new clampdown on dogs follows a recent order by the head of Tehran's security forces, Ahmad Reza Radan, who said it is against the law for dogs to walk in public. The order has left many people baffled."