Italian woman granted sick pay to look after her unwell dog

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She adopted Cucciola, 12, after she was found abandoned in a Rome park and took two days off to look after her as she recovered from surgery for a breast tumour and a larynx problem.

The woman's lawyer argued that Italy's animal protection laws were strict enough to allow her the compensation.

Italy's Penal Code prohibits the abandonment of pets and said keeping an animal in conditions that may cause it to suffer is a crime; both are punishable with jail time or a hefty fine. The court agreed with its arguments and made a decision to pay the holiday for family or personal reasons.

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But she won the case, with help from lawyers of the Italian Anti-Vivisection League, after a judge ruled the absence counted as 'serious or family personal reasons'.

Italian animal advocacy group, LAV, cited the case as precedent and say that any pet-owners who obtain a veterinarian's certificate should be able to enjoy the same benefits.

"It is a significant step forward that recognized that animals that are not kept for financial gain or their working ability are effectively members of the family", the league's president, Gianluca Felicetti, said after the ruling, according to Sky News.

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