Italian academic granted sick pay for time off looking after ill dog

The ruling was a big win for Italian dogs that feel ruff - and their owners (file pic)

An Italian woman has won a court battle to be granted sick pay for time off spent looking after her poorly dog.

The unnamed academic from Rome successfully argued her university should count her two days off under an allowance for absences related to "serious or family personal reasons".

Lawyers underpinned their case with a provision in Italy's penal code that provides for people who abandon an animal to "grave suffering" to be jailed for a year and fined up to €10,000.

The woman won her case with support from the Italian Anti-Vivisection League (LAV), one of the biggest animal rights groups in Europe.

LAV president Gianluca Felicetti said the ruling paved the way for pets to be recognised as "members of the family".

"It is a significant step forward that recognised that animals that are not kept for financial gain or their working ability are effectively members of the family," he said.

"Now, with the necessary veterinary certification, those in the same situation will be able to cite this important precedent."