Court grants woman paid sick leave to care for ailing dog

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'.

It is the first such finding by an Italian court.

In Italy an employee of the University La Sapienza di Roma received a two-day paid leave to care for his dog, which was prepared for surgery.

The 53-year-old, who works in the university library, has not been identified, but the dog in question is a 12-year-old English setter Cucciola, Corriere della Sera reports.

Italy's Penal Code prohibits the abandonment of pets, and says 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 accepted the argument and ruled that La Sapienza must give the employee back pay for the two days she was absent from work.

The woman recruited the Italian Anti-Vivisection League, one of the biggest animal rights group in Europe, to help her with the case.

"I'm very pleased", the woman told Corriere della Sera after the ruling.

LAV president Gianluca Felicetti said anyone who obtains a veterinarian's certificate should enjoy the same benefit, citing Cucciola's case as precedent.

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