The Blue Cross Animal welfare charity has saved an emaciated mare and her newborn foal from being put to sleep by their owner.

The vet who attended the birth rang the local Blue Cross centre and manager Liz Grant rushed to the scene. She took both the mare and her filly foal to the safety of the charity’s small animal and equine adoption centre in Northiam, West Sussex.

Marie-Claire, a 12.2hh chestnut mare, and her foal, which has been named Sesame, were both in such a pitiful state that it seemed unlikely either would survive. Marie-Claire was riddled with worms and lice, she was so thin her bones were protruding through hairless skin and her feet were extremely overgrown.

The ponies are receiving round-the-clock care by staff at the centre, who have even slept in the stable to keep watch over them. Staff say Marie Claire has been determined to feed her small foal and the pair are making slow progress.

Liz says: “This is the worst case of emaciation I have ever seen in my nine years of working inanimal welfare. Marie Claire’s case is even more horrific because throughout her suffering she was struggling so hard to sustain her foal.”

Emma Rooke, the veterinary surgeon who notified The Blue Cross and helped transport the mare to safety, adds: “It defies belief that in today’s society we can allow an animal to reach such a tragic state. The mare and foal deserved a chance and thankfully in the capable hands of The Blue Cross, Marie Claire and Sesame now have every likelihood ofmaking a complete recovery.”

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