Italian Animal Act

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

But animal protection in Sicily is double bended.

  • With the commencement of § 281/1991 in 1991 the killing of strays is forbidden.
  • The abandonment 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 administration.
  • 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 the 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 exceptionally good but not implemented in everyday 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 veterinary care. Bringing the cats back to their colony takes the risk of being abused of abandonment.  Even tourists, who care for cats could be accused.

What to do in an emergency case?

  1. Document the cat, place, time, and condition of the cat at best with photos and videos. Inform the police and the veterinary. The number you find on our site…
  2. Inform an animal NGO near to your place and ask for help. If this is not possible, please bring the animal to a veterinarian 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 yourself!
  4. Inform the administration about the cat and the veterinary care.
  5. Please inform us about your activity.