Strange, But True | Dog days? In Italy, count them like family sick days

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ROME (AP) – An Italian librarian who says her English setter is her family has won the right from her employer to use family sick leave to care for her ailing pet instead of having to use vacation days.

Italian animal advocacy group LAV says it helped persuade public La Sapienza University to let her use two days' family sick leave to care for 12-year-old Cucciola.

LAV president Gianluca Felicetti says in a statement that anyone who obtains a veterinarian's certificate should enjoy the same benefit, citing Cucciola's case as precedent.

The woman said Cucciola is recovering well from surgery for a breast tumor and a larynx problem.

The woman, who is single and has no family help for Cucciola, declined to be identified. She had adopted Cucciola, found abandoned in a Rome park.

Driver tells troopers that car chase was on his bucket list

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa State Patrol says a man pulled over in Des Moines after a car pursuit told state troopers that he wanted to be chased because it was on his bucket list.

Des Moines television station KCCI reports that the man refused to halt a little before 7:30 a.m. Thursday when a trooper tried to stop him over a violation on Interstate 80. The 10- to 15-minute chase ended soon after he left the interstate. He was taken into custody.

That’s when the 46-year-old Des Moines resident shared his bucket list story with troopers. Court records don’t yet show that he’s been charged.

State Patrol Sgt. Scott Bright told The Associated Press that he’d never heard such an excuse in his 28 years of policing.

Fire department fights brown recluse spiders after 2 bitten

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) – An Alabama fire department is fighting a different kind of battle after two firefighters were bitten by poisonous spiders.

Capt. Frank McKenzie of Huntsville Fire and Rescue tells WHNT-TV that two firefighters working at the department’s Station 17 have been bitten by brown recluse spiders.

He says the agency has moved fire crews, their equipment and personal items to another station, and the station was sprayed for pests.

McKenzie says firefighters plan to resume working at Station 17 on Tuesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says brown recluse spiders typically stay hidden in sheltered areas. The venom from their bites kills tissue, causing large lesions that often require medical treatment.