golden retriever
Dog owners will be persecuted ans sentenced to 74 lashes by Iranian authorities, draft bill says Calyponte/Creative Commons

Dog owners in Iran will be sentenced to 74 lashes if they are caught keeping the pets at home or walking them in public.

The new punishment is contained in a new draft bill signed by 32 members of the Iranian parliament, according to Iran's most reformist newspaper Shargh.

The proposed ban follows a series of episodes in which dog owners were fined and had their pets confiscated as the animals are considered to be 'dirty' under Islamic law.

The new bill, if passed, would also punish those charged with dog-related offences to pay fines up to 100 million rials (£2,363).

"Anyone who walks or plays with animals such as dogs or monkeys in public places will damage Islamic culture, as well as the hygiene and peace of others, especially women and children," the draft law states.

Police, farmers and hunters would be exempted from the ban, the bill continued.

The Iran's ban comes a few weeks after a dog patting event caused outrage in the Muslim majority Malaysia.

The event, called "I want to touch a dog", was held in a park and encouraged people to pat the animals.

The event was seen by some Muslim clerics as an insult.

"Don't try to create a culture that is opposite to Islam," Nooh Gadut was quoted by local media as saying.

Some Muslims believe dogs are impure, however the Koran does not forbid Muslims to own a dog.

According to Islamic Concern, a website aimed at clarifying Islamic concepts that might be misinterpreted, "It is NOT Haram [wrong] to touch a dog or any other animal. If the saliva of a dog touches you or any part of your clothing, then it is required of you to wash the body part touched and the item of clothing touched by the dog's mouth or snout.

"It is haram to keep a dog or any other animal on a short lead for long periods without food, water, and shelter."