A STARVING pony in Durham was rescued after being left so thin his hip bones, spine and ribs could be seen even through his thick shaggy coat, the RSPCA has revealed.
The animal welfare charity released details about skewbald cob Bruce as part of its Homes For Horses appeal.
The RSPCA has launched the appeal for homes for horses, ponies and donkeys as the number in the charity’s care exceeds 600.
RSPCA inspector Helen Scott rescued Bruce from a field with little grass and strewn with rubble in Durham in 2013.
The emaciated young pony was crawling with lice, had a head wound, was suffering from diarrhoea and had a serious worm infestation.
Inspector Scott said: “It was one of the worst cases I’ve seen.
“His head was down, he was in such a terrible condition and he was really feeling sorry for himself. There was pretty much no grazing, no clean water and no shelter.
“All he needed was food, worming, lice treatment and basic care. When I saw him afterwards I nearly cried. I couldn’t believe the transformation.”
Bruce’s owner was successfully prosecuted for failing to provide proper care, and was disqualified from keeping animals for 10 years.
The animal is now being cared for at the RSPCA’s dedicated equine centre in the North of England, RSPCA Felledge Animal Centre in Chester Moor, County Durham, where staff have been preparing the four-year-old for a new life as a riding pony. There are thought to be around 4,500 horses at risk in England and Wales, according to the RSPCA.
The average boarding cost per horse in RSPCA care is £15 per day, and the charity is at is capacity as it seeks to free up space to take in more neglected and abused animals.
In the last three years, the RSPCA has received 69,410 calls about equines in England alone – with more than 2,000 of those coming from the Tyne and Wear area.
Those interested in adopting one of the horses, ponies or donkeys in the RSPCA’s care can visit www.rspca.org.uk/homesforhorses.
Donations can also be sent by texting HORSE to 70111 to give £3.
The RSPCA will receive 100 per cent of the donation, excluding 02 customers, from whom £2.96 will be received.