Photo: Pascal-L-Marius (Getty)
There were so many times I wish I would have gotten sick leave so I could stay home to take care of my dog during one of his diarrhea fits.
An Italian woman, who only revealed her name to be Anna, recently was granted paid leave so she can take care of one of her sick dogs. Anna, an employee at Sapienza University in Rome, told her boss that her dogs are “her family,” and it worked because now she’s looking after her 12-year-old English setter.
Here’s what Anna had to say to newspaper La Stampa:
“I had asked for the paid allowance, honestly explaining what I needed it for — namely to care for my sick dog. I later realized that they had counted those days as a holiday, and I got angry as a matter of principle.”
An animal advocacy group, Lega Anti Vivisezione, helped Anna make her case to her employer and, the group said in a statement, the university eventually agreed to grant two days of paid leave. “The lady lives alone, and had no alternatives to transport and assist the dog,” the group said.
Lega Anti Vivisezione argued that owners who fail to take proper care of a pet could find themselves vulnerable to legal action, because it would amount to the mistreatment or abandonment of the animal, a crime under Italian law.
“Now, with the due medical and veterinarian certifications, all those who find themselves in the same situation will be able to cite this important precedent,” said Gianluca Felicetti, the group’s chairman. “Another significant step forward that considers animals not kept for profit or production, but to all intents and purposes as members of the family.”
“I think there should be more support for those who have animals, starting for example with public vet health care,” Anna said. “The costs to cure our little friends are very high, and not everyone can pay it.”
This decision, according to pet advocacy groups, could pave the way for similar claims in the future.
And now here’s hoping America feels the same way about all this soon.