The owners of an animal sanctuary in Malmesbury that made headlines all over the world after an emu thwarted a suspected drink-driver's getaway have thanked the community for their support. 

Janinka Diverio and Gary Walsh run the centre, which also has alpacas, pygmy goats, sheep, and chickens, in their spare time along with 25 volunteers.

On Monday a man broke into the Foxley Road site shortly after a car had been crashed into a shop on Gloucester Street.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Photo: @WiltsSpecOpsPhoto: @WiltsSpecOps

After he jumped two gates into the animal enclosure, he was scared off by an emu and was arrested shortly afterwards.

READ MORE: Driver who fled after crashing into shop thwarted by emu

"I received a call informing us that someone had entered our sanctuary over the gate whereupon my partner Gary and I visited the site," said Janinka. 

"All the animals seemed absolutely fine and it was as if nothing had happened."

"When emus are afraid they raise themselves up high, hiss and fluff out their feathers - much like a domestic cat," explained Gary. 

"Far from attacking, emus will normally run away from any perceived danger, and will only ever defend themselves if attacked by another animal, or person."

“It’s heartwarming that the town have been genuinely concerned about the emus and we really appreciate everyone’s support.”

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Photo: Malmesbury Animal SanctuaryPhoto: Malmesbury Animal Sanctuary

Although the sanctuary is not open to the public, the animals can be viewed from the wall of the site. And anybody wishing to volunteer is encouraged to do so. 

A raffle is currently being run to raise funds for the sanctuary, which has costs of around £250 for month. Tickets are £1 each and can be bought from volunteers or from Frangipanai Home or Caerbladon. The draw will take place on September 14 at The Kings Arms Hotel.

Malmesbury Carnival have offered a prize for the best dressed emu or for an emu-esque addition to a float in the procession.

Suggestions for a new name for Boomer, the crime-fighting emu are also welcome and can be made via the Our Malmesbury Facebook page. 

"We will be be unveiling more activities and local collaborations for the community very soon including an animal podcast from the field," said Gary. 

"Janinka is a children’s event organiser and is looking forward to providing some emu related fun for the children of Malmesbury over the summer and leading up to Christmas.’’