Pastures new for the horse that lived in a house as council find new owner after four years

Grey Lady Too on the steps of the house on Lewis that she lived in for almost two years
Grey Lady Too on the steps of the house on Lewis that she lived in for almost two years

A HORSE that lived in a house is finally set to move on – after a buyer was found after four years.

But taxpayers in Western Isles are being warned it is unlikely the council will recoup the estimated £12,000 it spent on Grey Lady Too’s upkeep and legal battle.

Western Isles Council say a buyer for the Connemara pony had been found and a sale was expected to be concluded “soon.”

The authority had been involved in a four-year legal battle over the future of the horse.

It was seized on animal welfare grounds in 2014 after Lewis pensioner Stephanie Noble moved Grey Lady Too into her home claiming there was nowhere suitable to keep her.

In May the period in which an appeal could be lodged over the council gaining possession of the pony passed.

It has since been free to release it from its care once it had found a suitable place.

The house

The authority has spent around £10,000 on the horse’s upkeep since seizing it – more than five times what Ms Noble paid for the animal. It has also run up thousands of pounds in legal bills.

The council said: “We have received an offer from within the islands for the pony and are in the process of a sale. We do not wish to have ownership or keep the animal.”

It’s one of the longest running legal battles on the Isle of Lewis with Ms Noble battling to get the animal returned.

The case had been thrown into confusion over previous legal challenges before Stornoway Sheriff Court.

Ms Noble argued the animal should not have been removed but Sheriff David Sutherland upheld the council’s decision.

The council spokesman added: “From the outset, the council’s concern in this matter has been the welfare of the animal and we welcomed the court’s decision which validated the council’s position and actions.

“Grey Lady Too was removed by the council in 2014 because of unsuitable stabling arrangements.”

The pony had been homed in the front room of Ms Noble’s ex-council house at Back, on the Isle of Lewis, since 2012.

Ms Noble kept the pony in her lounge

Although Ms Noble was still the official owner until May, the local authority was forced to pay thousands of pounds looking after it at stables on the neighbouring island of Benbecula, more than 80 miles away.

Ms Noble first received a letter from the council after a visit to her home by a vet and a council officer. The pensioner was given to the end of October 2013 to make alterations to her semi-detached home so her pony could still live in her lounge – or find alternative accommodation for the animal.

Ms Noble said she had no choice but to move her pony into her home after the animal was allegedly “dumped” on her lawn on a Christmas Eve following a dispute with the owner of the land where the filly had previously grazed.

In September 2011 Ms Noble bought the Connemara pony for £1850 from Ireland and by the following Christmas it was in her house. She moved her furniture upstairs and said the filly was well-cared for downstairs.

Ms Noble was not avaliable for comment last night.

Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “I know firsthand how rewarding it can be to give an animal a second chance in life.

“Many animals have had very tough pasts and some have never experienced life as part of a loving family, which is incredibly sad.”