An academic in Rome was recently granted sick pay for days she took off to care for her dog, according to a report in The Guardian.
She was represented by lawyers from animal rights organisation the Italian Anti-Vivisection League (LAV).
The judge held that the academic should be paid for the two days she took off, as the absence was attributable to “serious or family personal reasons”.
Under the Italian penal code, people who abandon an animal to “grave suffering” can be jailed for one year and fined up to €10,000.
LAV president Gianluca Felicetti said the case, an Italian first, was a step towards recognising animals as family members.
“It is a significant step forward that recognise that animals that are not kept for financial gain or their working ability are effectively members of the family,” Mr Felicetti said.
The enforcement of animal cruelty laws is a key issue for animal lawyers in Australia and overseas.
For more on animal law, keep an eye out for the November edition of the Lawyers Weekly magazine.