The Italian Almanac

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A woman whose husband left the family cat out overnight in the rain is taking him to a special animal court to sue for damages. The woman has filed a complaint against her husband at a new tribunal set up this month by the Italian Association for the Defence of Animals and the Environment (AIDAA) specifically to deal with pet disputes and other animal issues.

The pedigree European Shorthair, called Ivano, was allegedly shut out on a balcony in the rain by the woman's husband and their housekeeper after they caught him sharpening his nails on a desk and then discovered he had urinated on the man's work bag. Only the next morning, seeing the seven-year-old cat's food dish still full, did the woman discover a soaking wet and shivering Ivano on the balcony.

The woman is asking for 500 euros in damages from her husband for veterinary expenses and moral damages and a further 200 euros from the housekeeper as accessory to the 'crime'. One of seven Parma lawyers who have signed up to AIDAA's animal tribunal will present the case on October 10 if the parties fail to come to an out-of-court agreement.

Around 80 lawyers and ten judges across Italy have so far agreed to work for the tribunal.