Putting the ‘neigh’ in neighbour! Every day the Hebridean island on which I grew up becomes more and more like Craggy Island. (A good thing.) At this rate I might have to move back.
So many great quotes in here: ‘The situation is not ideal’; ‘I will sell myself before I sell that pony’; ‘Who would want their next-door neighbour to be a horse?’ and more.
Anyway, whether or not the woman is a dedicated and compassionate animal-lover or whether she is less than stable, her neighbours are saddled with the situation.
The unwelcome horse-guest! Animal lover causes outrage on small island by keeping pony in living room of semi-detached house
Dapple grey makes herself at home in living room of Stephanie Noble’s semi
Neighbours brand divorcee a ‘fruitcake’ and demand animal’s eviction
By VICTORIA ALLEN
Last updated at 12:19 AM on 13th January 2012
It is an average, neat semi-detached house on a remote Scottish island, owned by a divorcee animal lover in her sixties.
But Stephanie Noble has horrified neighbours in Back, Lewis, after moving in her pet pony as a lodger.
The three-year-old dapple grey, named Grey Lady Too, has taken up residence in Miss Noble’s living room after a dispute over grazing left the filly without a field.
‘Fruitcake’: Miss Noble has provoked outrage by allowing her pet dapple grey to become a lodger at her semi-detached home on the Scottish island of Lewis
Her owner has put in a hay bed and turned her chairs into feeding troughs to accommodate the animal, which she now refuses to move.
Miss Noble is now the subject of numerous complaints and visits from her local council and the Scottish SPCA, but because it is her own home officials said last night there is nothing they can do.
Miss Noble said: ‘This is my own property – if I want to even keep an elephant in the house I can. I have had nothing but stick from people because it is unconventional.
‘It is not normal to keep birds in a cage, because they should be flying about, but people don’t complain about that. Grey Lady Too is very happy.
‘She goes out to the lawn – though she has eaten a couple of the neighbour’s plants – and comes back in the house herself. The situation is not ideal, but it is safe and secure for her.
Neighbours beside the semi-detached home in Broadbay View say they often see the horse staring out of the ground-floor living room as they pass.
Grey Lady Too – named after Miss Noble’s first pony, Grey Lady – has two chairs full of straw to feed from and a bucket of drinking water regularly refilled from the kitchen next door.
In the living room, close to a desk and chair is the pony’s bed of hay, on top of 60 litres of cat litter and four heavy-duty rugs for the filly’s droppings and urine.
The pony was kept on land a few miles from the house after Miss Noble bought her in September, but moved because the grazing was ‘unsuitable’.
Taken to land in the nearby village of Gress, the filly was left on Miss Noble’s property on Christmas Eve, she says, after a dispute over payment.
She spent a night in the cells after putting the pony in a nearby shed, which she says she believed was in common ownership.
Nosing around: Neighbours are furious with the situation and claim they always see the pony staring out of the ground-floor living room as they walk by
The ensuing argument with the property owner saw her reported to the procurator fiscal for an alleged breach of the peace and vandalism.
After that, she took the pony into her house.
The owner said: ‘I will sell myself before I sell that pony. I don’t think any horse or pony should be out in this climate in winter. All I’m doing is fighting for my rights against people, who because it’s unconventional, think it’s wrong.
‘I would love somebody to come up with suitable nearby grazing.’
In the meantime, the £1,850 pony, which is not yet broken-in, remains in the living room.
No home: Miss Noble says she was forced to take her pony in because of a dispute over grazing left the filly without a field
Miss Noble, a qualified British Horse Society instructor who lived in America until 1994, hopes to eventually use the filly for breeding. Her neighbours, however, are less than happy with the bizarre set-up.
One said: ‘Who in their right mind would ever want their next-door neighbour to be a horse? The problem is not unsympathetic neighbours. She has been a pain in the neck from the minute she got here.’
Another described the divorcee as a ‘fruitcake’, while a neighbour added: ‘People are concerned about the horse and her.
‘The horse walks in and out of her house like it is its stable. It is put out into the garden, which is not the kind of space I can imagine a horse needs.’
Home sweet home: The pony’s bed of hay has been placed on top of 60 litres of cat litter and four heavy-duty rugs for the filly’s droppings and urine
The Scottish SPCA has offered to take the pony in but been refused. Inspector Andy Brown said yesterday: ‘We are concerned about the welfare of the pony. But it does appear to be in good condition and well cared for.
‘We are hoping to discuss the matter with Ms Noble. It is an unusual case.’
Miss Noble was not answering her door last night, but a spokesman from Western Isles Council said she was free to do as she pleased in her own property as long as public safety or hygiene were not affected.
He said: ‘We don’t encourage people to keep horses in their homes.’