In northern Italy, a mayor told an engaged couple their dogs cannot be ring bearers during the marriage ceremony which was to take place in the town hall of Pontirolo Nuovo.

According to the Eco di Bergamo, Mayor Gigliola Breviario stated she had agreed to allow the dogs inside of town hall if they were on a leash and muzzled. The couple’s two dogs are Bullmastiffs, aged three and four; a popular but large breed of dogs.

But when the couple insisted their dogs be allowed to carry the couples’ wedding rings, the mayor stated, that although she also is a dog lover, that the dogs participating in the wedding, was “over the top.”

In a country known for their love of dogs, with 92% of the pet owners considering their four legged friends as part of the family and one in four pets sharing beds with their humans, is there any reason for someone to choose not to have their pets present or even take part in important milestones in their lives?

Dogs roles in churches have taken on some controversy however. Just months ago, when a priest located in the outskirts of Rome, asked a parishioner to take her dog out of the church, animal rights advocates protested; even interrupting Sunday Mass on the following weekend as they carryied banners demanding their dogs be allowed in church.

In Italy, the law provides for dogs to be treated like children rather than property in divorce cases as to provisions made for shared custody and financial support. Similar cases have been tried in the United States, however pets in divorces are still treated as personal property.

The couple will reportedly hold their wedding ceremony in another dog-friendly city; the dogs are expected to participate as ring bearers.

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