Two people from Cannock have been sentenced after they starved their horse to the point where she was found collapsed.
The bay mare - named Lady - was found by a member of the public.
45-year-old Lee Roberts, and 38-year-old Sarah Roberts, both of Huntington Terrace Road, in Cannock, were disqualified from keeping equines for 10 years at North Staffordshire Justice Centre on Friday (6 October).
They had pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering at an earlier hearing.
RSPCA inspector Rob Crutchley, who investigated, said: “We were called by a concerned member of the public after they saw the horse had collapsed at stables in Stafford Road, in Cannock.
“When I got there, she was wearing a rug so it wasn’t immediately obvious how emaciated she was. When I lifted the rug up I could tell that she had been starved - she was in such a state.
“A vet came out and they were very concerned as Lady was clearly very weak. She was given a body score of just 0.5 out of five and was very emaciated.
“Sadly, the vet made the decision that the kindest thing to do was to put her to sleep to end her suffering. Lady had been starved so much that by the time someone raised the alarm, she was beyond help.”
Lady’s body was sent away for a post-mortem examination, which showed that she had poor nutrition in her gut.
“There was no grazing for her in the field at all,” said Inspector Crutchley. “The vet believed that Lady had been starved for weeks. If it hadn’t been for her wearing the rug, we might have been called earlier - the rug was essentially hiding her suffering.”
As well as a 10-year ban, the pair were ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work each, and to each pay costs of £250.