The protestors believe that animals have souls and should be let into churches

Animal rights activists in Italy have stormed a Mass demanding that their dogs be treated as Christians.

The Times reported that police were called to Santa Maria della Cima in Genzano to deal with a group of 20 protestors who were waving banners and carrying their pets while calling for animals to be allowed into church because they have souls.

The church was targeted by Animalisti Italiani after Roxana Grasso, 47, was told she would not be allowed to bring her Pomeranian to prayers.

“I believe that animals have souls, are on par with humans and should be blessed in church, but other worshippers yelled at me and the priest pushed me and threw me out,” Grasso claimed.

Signs at the protest read: “Animals have a soul – they will go to Heaven too.”

Under Italian law, the protestors could face up to two years in prison for disturbing a religious service.

The group claim they staged a peaceful protest and blamed worshippers for the situation becoming hostile.

“We entered the church in silence,” said Grasso, “but they became aggressive and ripped up by banner.”

Animalisti Italiani has targeted religious services before; in December they organised a rally outside a church where the priest had asked a labrador and its owner to leave a Mass because he was allergic to dog hair.