For an Italian dog mom named Anna, taking time off to care for her Old English Setter, Cucciola, was a family matter. When she found out that her bosses at Sapienza University in Rome had recorded the time she missed as vacation days, Anna was incensed.
She sought the support of the animal advocacy group, Lega Anti Vivisezione (LAV) and together they made Anna’s case to her employers.
In a groundbreaking decision, the University changed their stance on the issue and agreed to grant Anna two days paid leave for the time she spent bringing 12-year-old Cucciola to the veterinarian for surgery and caring for him afterwards.
“I had asked for the paid allowance, honestly explaining what I needed it for – namely to care for my sick dog,” Anna told the Turin newspaper La Stampa. “I later realized that they had counted those days as a holiday and I got angry as a matter of principle. My dogs are my family.”
Anna lives alone and had no one else to transport Cucciola to the vet. LAV argued that she could have faced legal ramifications under Italian animal mistreatment and abandonment laws – which are famously strict – had she not tended to his needs.
“Now with the due medical and veterinary certifications, all those who find themselves in the same situation will be able to cite this important precedent,” said Gianluca Felicetti, chairman of the LAV. “Another significant step forward that considers animals not kept for profit or production, but for all intents and purposes as members of the family.”
Companies in Europe and the US have begun to include pets in their benefits programs by offering paid time off for adopting a new dog and paid bereavement days when a pet passes away. LAV hopes that Anna’s case will set an example for other Italian employers to grant similar benefits.
“Animals are part of our family, and to take care of them, apart from being our duty must be our right!” they posted via Facebook along with an image of Anna and Cucciola.
What do you make of Anna’s story? Do you think pet owners should be granted the same benefits extended to parents and people experiencing family emergencies? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!
H/T to New York Times
Featured Image via Facebook/LAV
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