In Iran, no man -- or creature -- is exempt from fatwa. In Wainscott, no distance is too great to save a pooch.
In 2010, the Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi issued a fatwa -- a religious ruling -- that dogs were unclean and should not be kept as pets. In April 2011, Iran's ruling council began debating banning dogs, and police have stopped owners who appear in public with their pets and confiscated the dogs.
That all spelled bad news for Narin and Lampic until ARF, the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, for the first time in its history, accepted the two mixed-breed canines from nearly 8,000 miles away for adoption. They arrived on the Island on Monday.
The large, lanky females appear to be young, according to Sara Davison, ARF's executive director, and are undergoing a medical evaluation by the group, which is a no-kill shelter that houses about 80 cats and 80 dogs.
"If they're all right, they should be ready for adoption in about a week," she said, adding that both dogs appear to be in good health, although Lampic is blind in one eye.
The cost of their flight from Tehran was paid for by the Humane Society International, which sought ARF's help in placing the dogs for adoption.
While it was the first time that Iranian dogs have been brought to Long Island, adoptions from that country have been going on for about a year through an elaborate effort of the Humane Society International.
Dogs picked up in Iran are taken to Vafa, a shelter on the outskirts of the capital Tehran, which normally has between 300 and 500 dogs, according to the Humane Society International.
The Humane Society International is able to get dogs from the shelter, one or two at a time, by finding tourists from Europe or Canada who are willing to fly them out of the country, according to Kelly Coladarci, a program manager in the Humane Society International's companion animal department.
In August 2010, the London-based Telegraph newspaper reported that the ayatollah said dog owners were "blindly imitating the West" and that their devotion to the animals would result in "evil outcomes."
Shortly after the fatwa was issued, a report in the Los Angeles Times said keeping dogs as pets has become fashionable among Iranians in recent years, especially among well-to-do urban families.
In the past two years, ARF has rescued dogs from puppy mills and areas hit by natural disasters in the Carolinas, Alabama, Puerto Rico and St. Croix.
"The good news is that overpopulation [of dogs] on the East End is not what it used to be," Davison said, adding that spay and neuter programs seem to be doing their job.