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Italy drivers who abandon dogs could risk losing licence

Salvini says abandoning pets is "act of absolute barbarism".

Drivers in Italy who abandon their dogs by the roadside could risk having their driving licence suspended or revoked, under proposals by Italian transport minister Matteo Salvini.

The proposed move is among a number of possible changes to a road safety bill to be discussed in parliament, Salvini told the senate on Thursday, as part of measures to tighten penalties on those who dump their pets when going on vacation.

"In addition to being an act of absolute barbarism and incivility, it also risks jeopardising the safety of those travelling", Salvini said, adding that he hoped the proposed measures would "help to make people understand that it must be a holiday for everyone".

He also said that he would speak to the association of Italian municipalities ANCI about guaranteeing pets access to beaches, as well as talking to the civil aviation authority ENAC about pets travelling on planes.

The intervention by Salvini comes a week after the Italian state police launched a campaign against the abandonment of animals during the summer holiday season.

Citing figures from the national board for animal protection ENPA, police said that in 2022 an average of 127 animals a day were abandonded or handed into shelters, representing a 20 per cent increase compared to the previous year.

Those travelling with pets this summer are advised to "make numerous stops, keep the animal in the shade and give it water often", according to the police campaign.

Police have also issued a reminder that abandoning an animal is a crime, with penalties of up to one year in prison and fines from €1,000 to €10,000.

"If you happen to see an abandoned dog or someone abandoning it, do not hesitate to call the emergency numbers 112 or 113" - police say - "A pet left on the road or motorway, in addition to being destined for certain death, can also be a serious danger to traffic and other road users."

To learn about the procedure involved in adopting a dog in Rome, see our guide.

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