Italian Animal Act

Italy has one of the best Protection of Animals Acts in Europe!

But animal protection in Sicily is double binded.

  • With the commencement of § 281/1991 in 1991 the killing of strays is forbidden.
  • The abandonement of dogs could be punished by penalties up to 10,000 € or by imprisonment up to 1 year.
  • Dog fighting and cruelty to animals could be punished with imprisonment up to 4 years or penalties between 10,000 and 100, 000 €.
  • Owner of dogs are legally obligated to microchip and register their dog(s) in the adminsitration.
  • The law outlines the duty of the state for birth control of strays.

For feral cats and colonies of cats this implies:

  • animals (dogs and cats) without an owner are owned by the mayor of the city.
  • Taking away a cat from a colony is criminal.
  • The cats have the right to be registered as a community cat colony at hte administration.
  • cats of a registered community cat colony have the right to be neutered without any cost by the veterinary and food control of the city.


In practice:

This Animal Protection Act is very good but not implemented  in every day routines. Therefore a lot of volunteers are in a legal limbo. Without any edict they are not allowed to neuter strays or bring injured animals to vetinary care. Bringing the cats back to their colony takes the risk of beeing abused of abandonement.  Even tourists, who care for cats could be accused.

What to do in an emergency case?

  1. Documentate the cat, place, time and condition of the cat at best with fotos and videos. Inform the police and the veterinary. The number you find on our site…
  2. Inform a animal ngo near to your place and aks for help. If this is not possible please bring the animal to an veterinyrian by yourself.
  3. Attention, most colony cats in Sicily are shy. If they are ill or injured they have a lot of stress. Do not try to catch a timid or aggressive cat by youself!
  4. Inform the administration about the cat and the veterinay care.
  5. Pleae inform us about your activiy.