Men are not allowed to walk dogs (or cats) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia due to newly passed law

The reason why men aren’t allowed to walk dogs or take cats out on a stroll in Riyadh as of Wednesday is because they aren’t allowed to buy pets there any more. A hamster, maybe. A goldfish, probably, but not a dog or a cat. If a person has a pet already, the person can keep the pet, just not take it outside. As of Wednesday, the ban went into effect.

According to this AP article, some men, it seems, were using their furry friends as a way to get up close and personal with women and bother families–a big no no in Saudi Arabia. The sexes are to be separate from each other. Dogs and cats are ice breakers for bridging the divide.

As bans go, this one sounds a bit loosey goosey since as of the writing of the article, people didn’t know about the ban, including a pet shop owner. The other detail the article pointed out is that it’s not often that people walk dogs in Riyadh anyway and when do people really walk cats?

From what the people who were interviewed said, it doesn’t sound as if people are planning to follow the ban, just like what happened when there was a ban on cell phones with cameras back in 2004. The fear there was that people of the opposite sex would use the cameras to take pictures of each other. People didn’t go along with that ban so it was dropped.

If you are planning on heading to Saudi Arabia, I’d leave the pooch or kitty at home unless you don’t mind them having a stay under the care of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, the name for the religious police who are doing the pet confiscating.

One thought about this ban is that it’s really to control pet ownership which is seen as a Western influence. Dog ownership has not been part of Saudi culture until more recently. Cats, though, have, so it is unclear why they are being picked on.

Dispatches from around the world

Miss the Pet You Left? Rent One

When I moved to Singapore, I couldn’t quite see how my cat who went outdoors at will in Albuquerque, New Mexico would adjust to apartment living in the tropics. I gave Frank away. I felt bad about that, but I think he was happier without the jetlag and quarantine. Plus, with all the traveling and my job taking up time, having a pet wouldn’t have been particularly practical. I just read about FlexPetz, a rent-a-pet company that got me thinking, though about people on the go who are missing some animal companionship. This is just musing on my part, but it seems like an interesting idea.

The company rents dog time. If you like dogs, want to spend time with dogs, but haven’t the means for a full-time dog in your life, you can get one from FlexPetz for the weekend. You can even get one for less time than that. Some people just take a dog out for a walk for a couple of hours. I wonder if you were a frequent traveler to Los Angeles or San Diego where the company is located if you could rent a dog to keep you company? The idea here is also take care of animals that need some TLC. There is membership involved. The Web site gives the details.The company also plans to set up shop in San Francisco, Manhattan, Boston, London, and Washington, D.C. Tokyo, Paris and Glasgow are some of the other possibilities in the works. Here’s the info link. Maybe this won’t work for short trips, but what if you’re going to be there on an extended project or long bursts of time for whatever reason?

A friend of mine who used to travel for business hated it because she felt lonely a lot of the time. Having a dog for company might have been just what she needed to chase away the travel blues.