Italian dog owner wins sick pay for looking after pet

Italy has further cemented its reputation as a pet-loving country after a woman was given paid sick leave to look after her unwell dog.

The unnamed woman, who works for Rome's La Sapienza University, was brought to court after she took two days off to care for 12-year-old English Setter Cucciola after the animal underwent surgery.

"This case reflects a shift in public opinion and understanding of animal rights", a spokeswoman for LAV told CNN.

However, the 12-year-old animal fell ill earlier this year, and had to have a tumour removed from her breast in February. The Italian court ruled her two-day absence will count as paid time off for "serious or family personal reasons".

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According to La Pressa, Italy's strict animal protection laws, which state it is a crime to leave an animal in "grave suffering", allowed the woman's lawyers to build a case against her employer.

Gianluca Felicette, president of the LAV, said anyone who obtains a vet's certificate should enjoy the same benefit, citing Cucciola's case as a defining moment.

They have said that it is a step forward to pets being recognised as family members.

'Now, with the necessary veterinary certification, those in the same situation will be able to cite this important precedent'.

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