SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — As the weather gets nicer, people and pets may be spending more time outside, but that also means more missing pets as dogs and cats are more likely to wander and go farther if they get loose this time of year.

The best way to prevent your pet from getting lost is to make sure tethers, leashes, and fences are securely fastened. Pet owners are also encouraged to monitor pets during their outdoor time.

The Sioux City Animal Adoption and Rescue Center often deals with missing and lost pets and wants to help return them as quickly as possible. Cindy Rarrat with the center told KCAU 9 that if your pet does get away, the first step is not to panic.

Siouxlanders should call the center as soon as possible so Animal Control can be on the lookout for the missing animal.

“Contact us immediately and let us know if their dog is missing so that if we do find them, we can return them as quickly as possible to the owners, Rarrat said. “Having them microchipped, having their rabies vaccination and their city license tags will also help us.”

Owners can be fined if the pet is picked up too often.

“You know, the first time accidents happen. Doors get opened. Fences break down. That’s understandable. But if they’re continuously coming in, then they become a problem or a nuisance, and citations can be issued at that point,” Rarrat said.

She added that the center has also been seeing more puppies and kittens coming through their doors and wants to remind Siouxlanders to get their pets spayed or neutered.

The Sioux City Animal Adoption and Rescue Center’s phone number is 712-279-6968