Dog days? In Italy, count them like family sick days

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An Italian woman was granted sick pay for the time she took off while caring for her ill dog, a ruling that could have pets be recognized as "members of the family" in the future, reports said on Thursday.

The librarian, who doesn't want to be identified, is single and says she considers the dog, who she rescued from a park, to be her family.

Italian animal advocacy group LAV says it helped persuade public La Sapienza University to let her use two days' family sick leave to care for 12-year-old Cucciola.

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But she ended up in court, saying she shouldn't lose payment for the days she didn't go to work.

Their argument was underpinned by a provision in Italy's penal code that provides for people who abandon an animal to "grave suffering" to be jailed for a year and fined up to €10,000.

The woman, a Rome academic, won her case after being supported by a large animal rights organisation, the Italian Anti-Vivisection League (LAV).

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The decision, according to Chairman of the organization of Gianluca, Felicetti, is a step towards the recognition of Pets as family members.

Cucciola is said to be recovering well with her owner by her side.

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