A council has gone to court over the custody of a horse which shared a woman’s home in the Outer Hebrides for two years.
Western Isles Council has confirmed that it has lodged court papers seeking a formal disposal order that would allow them to sell the Connemara pony, or donate the animal to a rescue centre.
The horse, Grey Lady Too, was seized two weeks ago from the home of pensioner Stephanie Noble, who had kept it in the front room of her home at Back, Isle of Lewis, since Christmas 2011.
It has been taken to a animal centre on Uist, over 80 miles away.
The council has promised Ms Noble, 67, “visitation rights.”
“The council must be paranoid. Taking her away from me is bad enough - but to a different island is just added torture,” she said.
“They have told me I can have visitation rights but if she is on a different island - that will involve a road and ferry journey. I am a pensioner and the cost would also be prohibitive.
“I just can’t believe how cruel this council is. I intend to win her back and keep in better circumstances.
“They have also moved her illegally without her horse passport - which I have.”
Ms Noble received a letter from the council - following a visit by vet Hector Low and a council officer.
She is planning to sell the pony to a friend for £1 and then buy it back once she has proved her home at Back is fit for the animal - or she has found “better circumstances.”
Ms Noble was given to the end of October to make alterations to her private semi-detached home so that her pony can still live in her lounge - as it has done for more than the last two years - or find alternative accommodation for the animal.
The council said that under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 it had the power to “take possession” of the pony if a vet said it is likely to suffer.
It has now lodged papers at the sheriff court to seek a disposal order to allow it to “make more suitable provisions for the future of the horse” - including possibly selling it.
A spokesman for the council said:”We have lodged the papers and we are expecting the action to be heard in the next few weeks.
“Our concern and actions have always been about the welfare of the horse.
“The pony is in our care and is being well cared for on an another island. We have acted In the interests of animal welfare and this was deemed to be the appropriate place to send her.
“This action was taken after numerous animal health interventions and following a vet certifying that the pony was likely to suffer if its circumstances did not change.”