The owner of a Crockenhill animal rescue centre has lambasted the "lowlife scum" who dumped a starving pregnant horse on his doorstep.

John Ranger, 37, is caring for Bluebell after the mare was found abandoned close to death 500 yards from the Second Chance Animal Rescue centre in Crockenhill Road on June 5.

The 15-year-old crossbreed has salmonella and colitis and is fighting for her life and that of her unborn foal.

John said: "We are just in pieces because she is such a nice horse.

"I just think the people who abandoned her are scumbags.

"They are lowlife scum to starve an animal like this and they are just the lowest of the low.

"There is no reason for it especially as there are lots of rescue centres about."

John, who lives in Brow Crescent in Orpington, says he has been working 15 hour days after seven abandoned horses were brought in in the last seven weeks when Second Chance normally receives two or three a year.

John blames owners panicking during the breeding season for the sudden upswing which has been "financially crippling" the not-for-profit centre he has been running with his partner Susan Brady, 37, for three years.

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John and Susan with Bluebell. 

He said: "If you can’t look after one horse don’t breed them so you have two.

"With Bluebell they are potentially sentencing two to death.

"The vets did an internal examination and she obviously hadn’t eaten for 10 or 12 days.

"After being starved she was dumped in a field where she gorged herself on grass giving her colitis.

"The vets can’t believe that a horse so thin could be in foal.

"We are trying to build her up as best we can so she can foal and hopefully they will both live."

Bluebell, whose ribcage was clearly visible beneath her haggard skin when she was brought in, has already cost Second Chance £2,500 in vet bills.

The centre has around 25 volunteers and is currently looking after more than 300 animals including pigs, horses, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs and cats.