The Italian branch of the International Organization for Animal Protection (OIPA) has once again asked people not to abandon pets in advance of the summer holidays. Every year a large number of animals including dogs, cats, reptiles and birds are ditched in the countryside or by the side of the road as families go off on vacation. In 2006, 150,000 dogs and 200,000 cats were abandoned across Italy, in the majority of cases over the summer period. Around 80 per cent of abandoned dogs die within 20 days of being abandoned, OIPA Italia said.

Owners who abandon their pets are liable to fines of between