Yesterday dog and cat owners flocked to Venice to have their pets blessed at a special service at the Church of S. Francesco da Paola.
The ceremony is held in honour of St Francis of Assisi, the 13th Century Italian friar renowned for his love of animals.
The congregation and their pets were blessed by Don Filippo Chiafoni.
Many of the dogs were wrapped up in winter coats to protect them from the chill, while some pampered pooches even travelled by buggy.
One member of the congregation held up a sign urging people to protect the pigeons.
Pigeons are the unofficial mascot of Venice and can be seen in great numbers in St Mark's Square. However officials banned people from feeding the birds in the square in 2008 in a bid to control the population and minimise the damage caused by their droppings.
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