Facing possible execution and found wandering the streets of Tehran, Iran, Shellman has found her land of opportunity in Texas.
But Shellman is not your ordinary immigrant. She’s one of a lucky group of about 80 dogs who’ve made the journey to North America and Europe for refuge in the past three years, after a senior Iranian cleric’s decree that dogs are unclean under Islamic law, according to a news release issued from the SPCA.
Hunting, guard and sheep dogs are acceptable, but not pet dogs, according to the release.
The 2-year-old German shepherd mix recently made the trek from the Middle East to the SPCA of Texas in West Dallas after living in an Iranian shelter for about a year.
In Iran, reports have surfaced of police confiscating dogs from their owners off the street and of shooting wandering strays that the government warns could carry diseases, said Farah Ravon, U.S. representative for Vafa Animal Shelter in Hashtgerd, Iran.
Today, Shellman spends her days chewing rawhide bones and napping in a chair in RayLynn Bradigan’s home near Casa View in East Dallas.
Bradigan, foster and behavior programs administrator at the SPCA of Texas, is caring for and training the dog until she is ready to be adopted by a family in the next couple of weeks.
This is the first rescue to cross international borders for the SPCA of Texas, President James Bias said.
“We’ve taken dogs from New Orleans. We’ve taken them from Mississippi. We’ve taken them from Tennessee. We’ve had them come from New York and other parts of the U.S. when there’s been abuse or a natural disaster. But this is the farthest a rescue has come. We’re a global society now,” Bias said.