FEARS around a surge of abandoned animals in coronavirus crisis see RSPCA prepare for the worst.

More owners are struggling to look after their pets because of the pandemic.

The charity typically sees a surge in the summer, last year 16,519 animals were disowned between June and August.

During this time 218 of the reports were in Wiltshire.

Over the first three months of lockdown there were 3,492 reports of abandoned animals in the county.

RSPCA Wiltshire has launched an emergency appeal as it expects more pets to be left on the streets.

Dermot Murphy, head of the RSPCA’s animal rescue teams, said: “During lockdown we’ve seen pets become a source of comfort and support for people and it appears many people have taken on new animals.

"Fortunately during this time we’ve dealt with fewer abandoned pets however we are worried that as lockdown eases, people return to work, go on holidays or struggle financially we will be facing a massive surge of animal abandonment.

"I’d urge anyone struggling with their pet to ask for help. Animals have been there to help us through the crisis, please don’t abandon them now.”