The Louisiana SPCA is warning New Orleans residents that several unauthorized groups have entered the city to remove pets from people's properties, presenting themselves as animal rescuers.

The LA/SPCA is the only group in Orleans Parish authorized to respond to animal rescue calls and animal emergencies. If residents see anyone who is not with the SPCA entering their own or their neighbors' property and attempting to take an animal, they are advised to call the police.

LA/SPCA began its ground rescue operations on Wednesday, and is working in cooperation with the New Orleans Office of Emergency Preparedness and the New Orleans Police Department, reports director Ana Zorrilla:

"Any other animal group not working with the LA/SPCA and not authorized to enter the city and found taking any animals from residents' homes and yards are stealing," says Zorrilla.

To report an animal emergency or an animal needing rescue, please contact the Louisiana SPCA at 504-368-5191 ext. 100, or by email at info@la-spca.org. Groups interested in helping with the rescue effort should do so through the system established by the Louisiana State Animal Response Team.