Saudi Cops Target Flirty Dog Walkers

Riyadh officials confiscating pets in public
By Laurel Jorgensen,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 13, 2008 3:12 PM CDT
A Saudi plays with his cat outside a pet shop in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The kingdom's religious police have begun enforcing a ban on the sale of cats and dogs as pets.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Officials in a Saudi province have banned the sale of cats and dogs after complaints that flirtatious men are “using cats and dogs to make passes at women and pester families,” the Christian Science Monitor reports. Although owning a pet isn’t illegal, the religious police say they’ll seize animals from men walking pets in public—and force them to sign a pledge "not to repeat the act.”

Dogs are generally considered unclean in Arab culture. The acting governor says he’s simply enforcing an existing religious edict, but many think the rule is going too far. The prophet Muhammad “only discouraged people from selling dogs, he didn't prohibit it,” said a Saudi veterinarian. “You cannot stop people from being opened up to the world.”