WINNIPEG -- A walk through South Osborne went from peaceful to startling earlier this week for a Winnipeg woman, who observed a coyote in the area.

“We were warned by another dog owner, who had a larger dog, that they had seen a coyote,” said Heather Stuart.

Stuart was out for a walk around 6:30 p.m. Monday with her friend, who brought along her small dogs. The two finished their walk faster than normal that night.

When they got back to the car, they drove around out of curiosity to see if the coyote was still in the area. Within a few minutes, they spotted it.

“Our reaction was (to) turn on the brights. We had a few toys in the car. We tried squeaking [them to make] noise,” said Stuart. “We were probably less than five metres away in the vehicle. So, yeah, kind of alarming.”

Stuart said within the last 10 days, she saw two notices online of coyotes in the area.

”Which seemed a little bit different than previous years. I don’t remember ever hearing about them that often,” Stuart said.

Coyotes were also recently spotted near a school in the Linden Woods area.

The province said in terms of coyote reports, it’s been a fairly normal year so far.

“In general, in the City of Winnipeg, we get about 60 to 70 reports of interactions between people and coyotes annually, and we haven’t seen a significant increase in the number we’re getting as of yet,” said Janine Wilmot, a human-wildlife coexistence biologist with the province.

However, Wilmot noted coyotes have adapted to living in urban areas throughout North America. While it’s not as common to see them in highly developed areas, Wilmot said it is possible, more so around dusk and dawn.

“Make sure you give the animal its space. You don’t want to approach it, you don’t want to crowd it,” said Wilmot.

“If you have kids or small pets with you, [it’s] really good to pick those up because you don’t know how they’re going to respond to the situation. You don’t want them starting to run because a run can trigger a chase response in a coyote.”

In the meantime, Stuart and her friend will be taking precautions when going for their walks.

“Definitely. I think until we, or maybe even just herself, feel a bit more comfortable, we’d be doing it more in the daylight,” said Stuart. “Maybe not at dusk.”

Wilmot said you don’t need to report every time you see a coyote, only if it is deliberately approaching you, causing damage to property, or injuring someone’s animal.

She said to better coexist with coyotes, and to keep them away from your property, you should make sure to secure any garbage or compost so a coyote can’t get into it, feed your pets inside to avoid any trace of food, and clean up any mess left behind from a bird feeder.

If you do have an encounter with a coyote within Winnipeg, you can call 204-945-5221 to report the incident.