A Winnipeg man is sharing his close encounter with a coyote on Thursday while he was walking his dog.
Jeff Prokoppa said he was walking his eight-month-old Basset Hound with his partner through Brookside Cemetery, when they spotted a coyote nearby.
“Almost seemed like he was stalking us. He would not take his eyes off our dog,” said Prokoppa.
He said he has been walking through that area for most of his life and this was the first time he ever came across a coyote.
“I was quite afraid because I have heard other stories of people’s dogs getting attacked and snatched…so I just wanted to get out of there and not get in his way.”
Prokoppa said it felt like the coyote was following him for around 10 to 15 minutes, all while making attempts to get close enough to his dog.
“We rounded a corner and there was actually a maintenance person there with a riding lawnmower cutting grass. I was able to flag him down and he actually got between us and the coyote and he gave us a chance to get back to the car with the dog.”
A spokesperson for the province said there are roughly 70 reports a year of interactions between people and coyotes in Winnipeg, adding the majority of the reports are just sightings and not conflicts.
“All reported conflicts in the city involve the presence of a pet and there are generally two to three reports of coyote attacks on pets each year,” the spokesperson said.
They added coyotes are usually timid animals and try to avoid encounters with people, but if a food source is around, they can become aggressive.
“The province recommends that people secure attractants and not feed coyotes and other wildlife. Small pets can be considered potential prey by coyotes; pets should not be left outside unattended and should be kept on-leash for walks to reduce risks to their safety.”
If people encounter a coyote, the province recommends they stay calm; pick up small children and pets and restrain larger pets. They add you should not run, but back away slowly without turning your back on the coyote and make yourself big, make loud noises and fight back if attacked.
Prokoppa said he plans to walk his dog on main routes for a little bit now to lessen his chances of coming across a coyote.
The province said people can report coyote sightings to 204-945-5221.
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