Amazing transformation of lice-ridden, emaciated horse

Princess the horse before the RSPCA intervened. Photo: RSPCA

Princess the horse before the RSPCA intervened. Photo: RSPCA - Credit: RSPCA

These photos show the amazing transformation of a lice-ridden, emaciated horse that was mistreated by a Norfolk couple.

Princess the horse after being taken into care by the RSPCA. Photo: RSPCA

Princess the horse after being taken into care by the RSPCA. Photo: RSPCA - Credit: RSPCA

Princess was kept in the back garden of a house lived in by Emma Benson, 34 and Steven Peachey, 29, at Common Road, near Diss.

But after visits from the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare the garden was found to be unsuitable for the horse which became very thin and suffered from scabs and lice while being kept at the address.

Appearing at Norwich Magistrates' Court on Wednesday the pair pleaded guilty to two offences under the Animal Welfare Act including causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

Jonathan Eales, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, told the court the back garden where the horse was being kept was 'completely muddy and entirely unsuitable'.

The court heard how, in 2017, the pair had twice been visited by Jonathan Jackson from World Horse Welfare who offered Benson and Peachey advice on how Princess should be cared for and arranged for a vet to visit.

Visiting the pair again in February 2018, Mr Jackson noted that by then 'the horse was looking bad' and it was arranged for the RSPCA and Mr Jackson to return in March when, concerned that the horse was suffering, Princess was taken into the care of the RSPCA.

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Mr Eales said: 'A responsible owner should have recognised that this horse was suffering.'

Malcolm Plummer, mitigating, said Benson did ask for help to care for the horse and the case of Princess was one of 'well intentioned but incompetent care'.

Adding that Benson suffered from serious mental health issues he said caring for Princess was 'going some way in keeping her on the straight and narrow'.

Howard Gill, chairman of the bench, said the court accepted the mistreatment of Princess was 'down to a degree of naïvety and lack of knowledge rather an any malicious intent or intended neglect'.

Both Benson and Peachey were banned from keeping horses for three years and each ordered to pay £500 in compensation to the RSPCA for its care of Princess who was handed into the custody of the charity.

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