Italian woman granted sick pay to look after ill dog

An Italian academic and dog owner has won the right to sick pay, after she took time off work to care for her unwell pet.

ROME (AP) - An Italian librarian who says her English setter is her family has won the right from her employer to use family sick leave to care for her ailing pet instead of having to use vacation days.

The court ruled that the unidentified woman's two-day absence will count as paid time off for "serious or family personal reasons".

Animal rights group, the Italian Anti-Vivisection League (LAV), are hailing the win as a victory for animal rights around Europe.

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Public sector employees in Italy are entitled to paid days off for serious personal or family-related reasons, similar to the way compassionate leave works in the UK.

The academic, who has not been named, took two days off to care for Cucciola, a 12-year-old English Setter, after the dog underwent surgery.

The group's president, Gianluca Felicetti, said: 'It is a significant step forward that recognised that animals that are not kept for financial gain or their working ability are effectively members of the family.

The law, The Guardian reports, prohibits people from abandoning an animal to "grave suffering" - with a penalty of one year in jail and a 10,000 euro fine.

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