A LOCKYER Valley couple accused of allowing their pet horse to starve to within an inch of its life will face court in October.
The RSPCA is alleging Luke and Jacqeline Campbell breached their duty of care to chestnut mare named "Big Red" by failing to provide adequate food and treatment.
Allegations include that in late August, the emaciated horse was found lying on the ground of the couple's Regency Downs property with no shade, no food and no water.
A vet was called and the horse had to be put down.
The horse's owners appeared briefly before Gatton Magistrates Court yesterday, where after some discussions with the Magistrate they decided not to enter a plea and asked for an adjournment for legal advice.
RSPCA spokesman Michael Beatty said the allegations involved one of the worst breaches of care to an animal he had seen.
"The charges are not of animal cruelty but the charge of breaching duty of care come with a maximum penalty of one year in prison or a $50,000 fine," he said.
"The RSPCA does not take many people to court - maybe 20 defendants a year - and it is always viewed as a last resort. In this particular case we felt what this horse's owners were alleged to have done was completely unacceptable."
The RSPCA will allege it was called out to the property on August 29 to respond to a critical job for a horse down.
While on route, the job was cancelled because the Campbells allegedly told police in the area that the horse had already died.
It will be alleged that neighbours later notified the RSPCA that the horse was still alive and that it was thrashing around on the ground. The case was adjourned to October 26.