Milan’s council agreed guidelines that will see the first public veterinary clinic opened in the city’s Bruzzano district.
The non-profit clinic will provide “free assistance to the poor families of Milan”, with more detailed plans due to be announced in the coming weeks, city hall said in an online statement.
The council will use Italian state poverty indicators (indicatore della situazione economica equivalente, ISEE) to decide which families can access the vets. They will be given a three-year pass to take their pets to the clinic, which can be renewed for an additional three years, the city council said.
The announcement came the same day former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi announced his owns plan to help animals by boosting pet adoption.
"We need to find a daddy or mummy for thousands of abandoned dogs and cats," Berlusconi said, although his scheme was dismissed by animal rights groups as a publicity stunt.
"We need concrete measures. Berlusconi could come and do some dog-sitting for us," the Italian Association for the Defence of Animals and the Environment (AIDAA) told La Stampa newspaper.