A foal that was found roaming the streets of Diss, Norfolk, last month has been offered a secure home at Redwings Horse Sanctuary.

Redwings has credited the local family who initially rescued her as “saving her life”.

The family took the four-month-old filly off the street in to their back garden until the authorities came to collect her, giving her a parasol for shelter.

It is suspected that the 8hh pony — named Lottie by the family — was deliberately abandoned. She was severely underweight at just 49kg and suffering from diarrhoea and dehydration. She was taken to Redwings and has been signed over to the sanctuary by the RSPCA.

Redwings senior field officer Julie Harding said: “Poor little Lottie had a body condition score of just 0.5, who knows how long she had been left to her own devices? It is unbelievable to think that someone could heartlessly abandon such a young pony like this.

“We are so glad she was found when she was — huge thanks go to the family who took her in and protected her, it’s no exaggeration to say that they may well have saved her life.”

RSPCA animal welfare officer Craig Plumley said: “This little pony was probably abandoned because her irresponsible owners did not want to pay for vet treatment to get her better. It is cruel and heartless and we would still like to hear from anyone who knows where she came from and who owned her.”

Anyone with information on this case, call the RSPCA on tel: 0300 1234 999.