Sick Time Can Be Used To Care For Ailing Pets – Advocacy Group Wins Petcare Battle

Though this happened in Rome, Italy, and not in the U.S., the case has set a legal precedent in that country.  The dog, a 12-year-old English Setter named Cucciola, recently underwent surgery for a breast tumor and a larynx problem.

Anna, Cucciola’s human, an Italian librarian employed by Sapienza University, had no family to help with the dog’s care.  She adopted the dog after finding her abandoned in a park in Rome.  Anna explained,

“I consider the dog a member of my family.”

Italian animal advocacy group Lega Anti Vivisezione (LAV) took up the pair’s case.  Established in 1977, they have spearheaded many animal rights causes, with a total of 13 national laws and EU directives approved through their work.

LAV helped persuade Sapienza to let Anna use two days of family sick leave to care for her 12-year-old furry family member.  In a statement released by LAV, citing the precedent this case has set, LAV President Gianluca Felicetti said,

“Anyone who obtains a veterinarian’s certificate should enjoy the same benefit.”

Anna initially submitted a request for time off, citing the health of her sick dog.  Leave was granted, but Sapienza charged it to her holiday time, which angered Anna.

Anna and Cucciola, Courtesy LAV/Facebook

Following LAV’s intervention, explains Anna,  “I presented a medical certificate for both operations (for my dog) and they (Sapienza) reassessed the issue, and a few days ago I got the news that they had granted me these two sick days for serious family and personal matters.”

LAV argued that if she were not given leave to care for Cucciola, and the dog’s condition deteriorated, Anna would leave herself open to cruelty charges, which is a crime under Italian law.  Cases like these may very well pave the way for similar claims in other countries, according to pet advocacy groups.  As reported in, some states are already looking into making your vet bills tax deductible!

Anna, who has another dog in addition to Cucciola, reports that the gorgeous girl is recovering well from surgery.

According to ABC News, there are a few companies in the U.S. who do grant paid bereavement time to pet owners, to allow them to mourn the loss of their family members.

Here’s another good news story: Click this link to watch a pair of homeless street dogs transformed into beloved family pets on!


Lisa Blanck

Writing articles about animals for more than 22 years, she dove into the rescue world with the onset of Hurricane Katrina. As an outspoken advocate for animals, she's covered everything from paws to hooves, fins to feathers. She was the Orlando Animal Rescue and Worldwide Animal Issues Examiner for seven years. She's always thinking pawsitive, looking for ways to improve the lives of animals. She lives with one dog, one cat and one patient human. She welcomes your suggestions and is thrilled to be part of the family!


  1. Jill Siegel says:

    I hope this spreads to US companies … and around the world.

  2. Elaine Whinston says:

    This is a wonderful idea for pets and their owners alike!

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