Saudi Arabia to Ban Sales of Pet Cats and Dogs

Authorities in the Saudi city of Mecca have banned the sale of pet cats and dogs at the request of religious police, the Arab News reported Thursday. The law was passed after many young Saudis had gone outdoors with their pet dogs thus violating the kingdom's culture and traditions.?

Authorities in the city of Jeddah have also begun enforcing the decision, the report said. The commission complained that Saudi youth, apparently influenced by Western culture, were bringing their pets into public places, allegedly causing distress to families with young children.

The Jeddah Municipality had received a letter from the Mecca government banning the sale of pet dogs and cats in the city, the report added. Islam considers dogs unclean and Muslim traditional families do not keep dogs as pets, while there is no mention of cats. Saudi Arabia applies a strict interpretation of the Islamic law. The religious police is a special force that makes citizens comply with the strict social norms.

The growing trend in purchasing domestic pets has encouraged businessmen to open shops and clinics for such animals in Jeddah. And the municipality is in the process of dispatching special squads to close down shops that sell cats and dogs, and it is unclear what will happen to the animals in question.

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