THERE are fears of a massive surge in abandoned pets as lockdown finally eases.

The RSPCA in Essex is bracing itself for a huge increase in dumped animals over the summer.

The charity fears the fallout from the Covid crisis could see more owners struggling to keep their pets.

Last summer the RSPCA received 370 reports about dumped animals in the county.

Bosses predict an even bigger impact this summer following the easing of lockdown and the financial impact on the coronavirus pandemic.

The organisation has launched an emergency appeal to continue its vital rescue work.

Spokesman Dermot Murphy 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 abandonments."

The numbers of animals being cared for by the RSPCA nationally has risen by more than 1,500 to 5,600 during the pandemic.