A horse which was effectively taken into care after living in alleged cramped conditions in a residential house could be returned to its owner if suitable accommodation was arranged, a court heard yesterday.
Western Isles Council seized Stephanie Ann Noble’s Connemara pony, called Grey Lady Too, in February 2014, claiming its living conditions for the previous two years in the front room of the ex-council house at Broadbay View, Back, in Lewis, broke guidelines.
Though Ms Noble is still the official owner, the local authority is forced to pay thousands of pounds in looking after it.
The council has gone to court to try and obtain legal ownership so it can sell the horse.
Advocate Mark Mohammed was hired by the council to fight the case when it returned to court yesterday (Wed).
Giving evidence, council animal health inspector Kenny Macleod assured him the horse looked healthy and “perfectly well” when he saw it.
The inspector said the large pony was rehoused with professional stables on the island of Benbecula as, “historically, Ms Noble can be quite difficult.”
“The further away from (Lewis) the better,” he told the hearing.
The council has “no problems” in handing back the animal if the owner made “alternative arrangements,” he stressed.
Mr Macleod told the advocate that Ms Noble had never asked for the horse to be returned and he was not aware if she had even applied to the court to get it back.
He said Ms Noble informed then the “horse had been dumped in her garden on Christmas Eve by the owner of ground where the horse grazed and she had no choice ” to take it inside her own home.
She cleared the living room of all furniture to rig up a “makeshift stable which took up much of the room. There were bales of hay under the window and some feed as well,” he added.
Mr Macleod said he obtained a vet’s professional opinion which concluded Ms Noble failed to comply with the formal code of practice over the care of horses.
The vet reported a layer of cat litter, topped by straw, covering the wooden floors, “seemed particularly inadequate” for a pony that size, said Mr Macleod.
The case before sheriff David Sutherland was adjourned to a later date.