When cultural boundaries are broken, discovery of similarities abound. As relations with Iran have improved over the recent years, we have begun to learn more about the modernization of this culture. One of the most delightful discoveries is the Aradkouh Stray Dogs Shelter in Tehran, the capital of the country.

Traditionally, stricter Islamic beliefs say that dogs are not clean, and therefore are almost always found outdoors. Stray dogs were often killed inhumanely, until footage of dogs suffering at the hands of authorities sparked public outrage. Even dogs found as pets were at one point at risk of being confiscated by authorities. However, this belief is gradually becoming more of an issue of the past thanks to the dedicated team of professionals at Aradkouh Stray Dogs Shelter.

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Hassan Heidari, director of Tehran’s Urban Animal Control Department, cites Islam as the reason for the new humane shelter. He told the Associated Press that killing dogs and other animals without reason goes against the teachings of Islam. “From a moral and Islamic point of view, we are not allowed to treat these animals violently,” he said. “Observance of animal rights was another motive that made us stop killing dogs.”

In the true tradition of Iranian hospitality, stray dogs who are brought into the shelter are treated with warmth and generosity. From the start of their journey in an air-conditioned vehicle to their 15-45 night stay filled with nutritious feasts and affection, these stray dogs who were once considered a nuisance are now respected as lovable living creatures. After receiving a check-up from the shelter veterinarian and undergoing a spay or neuter operation, these dogs are microchipped and given a collar.

Shelter workers do all they can to adopt out these sweet canines, but those who are not adopted are released back to the area they were first found. On any given day, Aradkouh Shelter can house 500 adult dogs and 145 puppies, and they bring in 30-40 stray dogs each day. For a country whose religious officials have condemned having dogs as pets, this is an enormous step for animal rights in Iran, and we hope this is a sign for additional improvements in animal welfare laws.

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Image Source: Peerawat Aupala/Shutterstock

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