This woman has been granted sick pay to mind her unwell dog

The unnamed academic, from Rome's La Sapienza University, brought her fight to the courts arguing she deserved to be compensated for the two days she had taken to care for her pet.

The university reconsidered the case, and ruled in the woman's favor, granting her the leave allowance traditionally used for workers dealing with serious personal or family problems, according to the Italian Anti-Vivisection League (LAV), an animal rights organization which offered Anna legal advice.

The academic, who has not been named, took two days off to care for Cucciola, a 12-year-old English Setter, after the dog underwent surgery.

They state that any person who inflicts "grave suffering" upon an animal can be fined up to €10,000.

A judge accepted the woman's case that the university should put the absence down to "serious or family personal reasons".

They have said that it is a step forward to pets being recognised as family members.

Gianluca Felicetti, president of LAV, said the case had set an important precedent for animal lovers in Italy.

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