An emaciated pony dumped in a field proved challenging for welfare officers to capture.
The bay filly was spotted by the public on 20 April in a field in Hatfield Heath, Essex.
RSPCA officers were called to the site and eventually caught the youngster.
“We received a call about this little pony and although when we attended we could clearly see she was in a bad way, she certainly wasn’t going to come quietly,” said RSPCA inspector Kate Fletcher.
“Just as we got near her each time, she would move off again — she was clearly enjoying the chance to have some grass. Despite my best efforts with an officer from Redwings Horse Sanctuary, we did have to use a dart in the end and then use a pen to catch her.
“Though she didn’t want to be caught she obviously couldn’t stay where she was and was in desperate need of care — the vets gave her a body score of 0.5 out of 5.
“It was nice to see she had some spark left in her after what has obviously been a really horrid period of neglect and abandonment, but in reality she was probably only days away from collapse.”
The 10hh filly was nicknamed The Littlest Hobo by RSPCA officers and is now in the care of Cately Cross Vets in Halstead, Essex.
“She’s clearly been kept in a filthy stable up until recently as her belly and legs were caked in faeces,” added Ms Fletcher.
“She’s not used to being handled but she has a sweet temperament and is clearly glad to be in a warm stable with a hay net.”
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The “super sweet and affectionate” filly has since been renamed Dora and has been clipped (pictured, top) as she was“riddled with lice”.
Anyone with any information about who owns this pony or how she came to be dumped in this field is urged to contact the RSPCA by calling 0300 123 8018.