Not True: Jewish Court Sentences Dog to Death by Stoning


The, June 20, 2011, unequivocally states that “no dog stoned to death in Jerusalem.”

This bogus story was first reported by an Israeli newspaper, Maariv. The story then went viral and made headlines around the world, and was the “Most Read” story on the BBC – despite a correction and apology being printed in Maariv.

A statement from the Jerusalem court said:

“There is no basis for stoning dogs or any other animal in the Jewish religion, not since the days of the Temple or Abraham.

The female dog found a seat in the corner of the court. And the children were delighted by it; there were hundreds outside the court. They are used to seeing stray cats but most have never seen a dog before. The only action we took was to dial the number of the Jerusalem Municipality to get the people in charge to take it away.

There was no talk of reincarnation, a lawyer has never been mentioned, either now or 20 years ago, and there was no stoning. Such inventions are a kind of blood libel, and we wonder why the inventor of the story did not continue to describe how we collected the blood of the dog to make our matzah.”

This is one of those WTF news.

A Jewish rabbinical court in Israel recently condemned a dog to death by stoning. The court believes the dog to be the reincarnation of a secular lawyer who had insulted the court’s judges 20 years ago.

Happily, before the sentence could be carried out, the dog escaped.

Agence France Presse reports from Jerusalem on June 17, 2011 that the large dog made its way into the Monetary Affairs Court in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood of Mea Shearim in Jerusalem, frightening judges and plaintiffs.

Despite attempts to drive the dog out of the court, the hound refused to leave the premises. So one of the sitting judges recalled a curse the court had passed down upon a secular lawyer who had insulted the judges 20 years ago. At that time, the judges asked that divine retribution be visited on the lawyer by having his spirit be moved into the body of a dog, an animal considered impure by traditional Judaism.

Certain schools of thought within Judaism believe in the transmigration of souls, or reincarnation.

Convinced that the large dog is the reincarnation of the offensive lawyer, one of the rabbinical court judges sentenced the animal to death by stoning by local children. But the dog managed to escape.

When an animal-welfare organisation filed a complaint with the police against the head of the court, Rabbi Avraham Dov Levin, the rabbi denied that the judges had called for the dog’s stoning. One of the court’s managers, however, confirmed the report of the lapidation sentence to Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot: “It was ordered… as an appropriate way to ‘get back at’ the spirit which entered the poor dog.”

Mea Shearim


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8 years ago

I am currently illustrating a children’s book about Passover, a picture book for very young children for a publisher in Crown Heights, NY that prints children’s books for the Hasidic Community. It is amazing having to draw no male next to a female, men on one side of the table, women on the other, always separated by children. The women, even the female children do not show bare arms, elbows, legs etc….there are so many rules to keep in mind when drawing everything. In discussions with the editor I am learning that this extreme modesty isn’t so much that the… Read more »

8 years ago

Religious Jewry believe the Messiah will come. If HE happened to inhabit the body of that dog, the Rabbi who sentenced the dog to stoning, would never know.

To order that children stone the dog is ghastly, coming from the teach, the rabbi. Fundamentalist religious beliefs are often throwbacks to the days of darkness and unenlightenment of the mind and the intellect.

8 years ago

“But the dog managed to escape.”

I’ll bet it had help from someone who actually grew a brain and relocated it to someplace safe.


8 years ago

ok, boys & girls, this story seemed to weird…..I kept thinking about it while I walked Baci the Corgi, came home and did a little research… turns out it’s not true, sort of like the game of telephone. A pooch made its way into a beth din in Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Mea Shearim . One of the judges, believing the dog to be the reincarnation of a now-deceased lawyer whom the court had cursed some two decades earlier, sentenced the dog to death by stoning, and ordered that the sentence be carried out by children. The dog escaped before… Read more »

8 years ago

sorry about that last comment… is exactly an example of how we all see through a particular lens…….I didn’t even see that.
What i did feel, that got me searching in the first place was the source as the french paper which has a highly AntiSemitic slant in general so they would naturally jump on a story like that, true or not.

8 years ago

Jewish dog wags international media’s tail Why were news outlets around the world and local antosemites, so quick to report on a story about a religious Jewish court’s apparently ludicrous ruling, when the original source had already issued a retraction? Haaretz News In the age of instant news and the spreading like wildfire of information – true or false – via the Twittersphere, there are genuine questions which need answering about the future of accurate news reporting. The recent story about the alleged sentencing to death of an Israeli canine inhabited by the spirit of a hateful secular lawyer reminds… Read more »

8 years ago

Regarding the gulf between the Haredi, Hasidic Jews in Mea Shearim and more secular, less ultra Orthodox Jews in Israel…the gulf is vast. Many of the sects in Mea Shearim are anti Zionist, actually believing that there should not be a Jewish Homeland until after the arrival of the Messiah…believing that Israel’s woes are brought upon herself by the very inception of the State of Israel: In VaYoe,l Moshe Teitelbaum ( Satmar Rebbe ) explicitly declared that, from the time of the very inception of the Zionist movement in the 1890s, the Zionists violated the three oaths, and thereby caused… Read more »