Italian Woman Granted Sick Pay To Care For Ailing Dog

The president of one of Europe’s largest animal rights group said the ruling paved the way for pets to be recognized as "members of the family."

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A judge ruled that the dog's illness amounted to "serious or family personal reasons" to take an absence. Chodyra Mike/Shutterstock
Stephanie Brown

Most employers will pay full-time employees for sick days, but what about staying home to care for a sick dog? You most likely won’t be paid for that. But the tide might be changing.

An Italian woman won a legal battle to be granted sick pay for taking time off to care for her dog, the BBC reports. The unnamed woman, who works at Rome’s La Sapienza University, took two days off to care for Cucciola, a 12-year-old English Setter, after the dog underwent surgery.

A judge ruled that the university should count the woman’s two days off under an allowance for absences related to “serious or family personal reasons,” according to reports.

English Setter dog

The woman took two days off to care for her English Setter after the dog underwent surgery. (English Setter pictured is not the woman’s actual dog.) Nick Chase 68/Shutterstock

Her lawyers pointed to a provision in Italian law that says people who abandon an animal to “grave suffering” can be jailed for a year and fined more than $11,000. The Italian Anti-Vivisection League (LAV), an animal rights groups, also helped in the case.

“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,” Gianluca Felicetti, president of LAV, said in a statement.

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