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An abandoned horse found in a “very poor state” has given birth to a healthy foal.

Roberta was malnourished and suffering from worms and lice when officers from Basildon Council in Essex found her. Her ribs, pelvis and spine were clearly visible and she was also pregnant.

She was seized on 10 February from land at Courtauld Road in Basildon under the Control of Horses Act, which gives authorities the power to remove and detain fly-grazed horses.

Less than a week later the council became Roberta’s official owner and handed her into the care of a horse sanctuary.

“This was a shocking case of animal neglect. Roberta was in a very poor state of health when we found her,” said a council spokesman.

In the early hours of 10 May, Roberta gave birth to a health colt who has been named “Buddy” (pictured) by council officers.

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“Thanks to the swift intervention of council officers using new powers to seize abandoned horses and the excellent work of the vet and the sanctuary she has made a fantastic recovery and has given birth to a healthy foal which is great news — Buddy really beat the odds,” added the spokesman.

“The council would like to remind owners they have a duty to ensure their animals are properly treated and do not cause potential health and safety issues for the public by using the council’s parks and open spaces. Owners are also reminded to ensure their animals have appropriate welfare surroundings.”

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