Jordan embraces their love for dogs, years after declaring holy war against them

WION Web Team Amman, , Jordan Dec 23, 2019, 06.32 PM(IST)

A member of the staff opens a kennel door at the "dog hotel" at “Pet Zone”, a pet health centre in the Jordanian capital Amman, on October 1, 2019. Where strays were once mostly left to scavenge for food, Jordanians, in a new trend in the Arab kingdom are increasingly willing to foot steep bills to care for beloved dogs and cats. Photograph:( AFP )

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Owners can now be seen walking their dogs around the streets of Amman, with even pet hotels sprouting up across Jordan.

From declaring a fatwa on dog's existence on Amman's streets to paying huge bills to care for them, Jordan has a come a long way since declaring a holy war on dogs.

Owners can now be seen walking their dogs around the streets of Amman, with even pet hotels sprouting up across Jordan.

"Twenty years ago, if you had told anyone that you were leaving your dog in a hotel, he or she would have definitely laughed at you, but now it's a normal thing," said Marwan al-Haj Ali, manager of the Pet Zone Hotel and Training Centre.

German Shepherd and the Rottweiler have emerged as a popular choice for pet owners.

"In Jordan, we like two types of dogs that are really popular, the German Shepherd and the Rottweiler. Some people like owning a Husky because it looks nice and has good behaviour, as well as Golden Retrievers and Labradors," told Ali.

"In addition to "toy breeds" such as Pomeranians, Shitzu, Yorkshire- home dogs which are enjoyed by children," he added.

In a country where the average monthly wage is just $600, people are buying puppies for as much as $140 and still they ready to pay for their routine medical care and other expenses.

"No doubt, there are financial expenses that accompany owning pets. Medicals are more expensive because of the high equipment expenses," said Alaa Shehadeh, owner and veterinarian at Vetzone Pet Health Centre.

It was only a few years ago people in the small Arabic kingdom were on a dog hunt after a two-year-old Gir died from a rabid dog’s bite.

Jordan’s Grand Mufti—the country’s top religious scholar—gave permission to kill a dog that was caught attacking people, children or livestock, dog lovers around the world had criticized Jordan's war on dogs, #stopkillingthemJo became an instant protest thread online.

Even though Islamic tradition warns against contact with dogs and other animals because it's deemed impure, people in Amman are now embracing dogs as their own child.