Two women in Iran rammed their car into a clergyman after he reported them to the authorities for walking their dog, according to local media.
The cleric, identified as Abolhassan Kayhani, the head of the local religious authorities, said he reprimanded the women before attempting to call the police.
The women attacked him verbally, telling him it was not within his power to report them, before chasing him in their car, running into him before fleeing the scene.
The man was reportedly knocked unconscious and suffered a head injury, he claims.
Local authorities are investigating the incident and if identified and found guilty of bodily harm, the women face long prison sentences.
Dogs are widely seen as “dirty” by Iran’s hardline clergy, and owning dogs has been a contentious issue ever since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Pet dogs are also regarded as an emulation of western behaviour and the regime of the Shah, which the revolution toppled.
Tehran banned dog walking in public places as well as driving with a dog in the car earlier this year.
Local religious authorities are also empowered to forbid dog walking in those areas.
In spite of the crackdown, pets, especially dogs, are becoming ever more popular among young Iranians.
“It is forbidden to drive dogs around in cars and, if this is observed, serious police action will be taken against the car-owners in question,” Tehran Police Chief Hossein Rahimi told an Iranian news agency in January.
Five years ago, Iran passed a law to protect so-called to “morality vigilantes,” religious figures and members of the public who report and reprimand others for violating Islamic codes of behaviour.
Those on the receiving end are most often women, whose behaviour and adherence to dress codes are heavily monitored by the authorities.