Ann Zoobkoff is taking some extreme measures to protect her dogs, Bibz, left, and Tozer, after she and her neighbours spotted a coyote in the backyard of her home on Neptune Road in Kelowna.
The Rutland woman carries with her a noisy pop gun, a flashlight and wasp spray that shoots up to 10 metres.
The armaments are necessary, she believes, in case she once again encounters a coyote that's been spotted several times roaming her neighbourhood.
"It's kind of spooky letting the dogs out now," Zoobkoff said Saturday. "But they need to go out, and I want to keep them safe."
Coyote sightings are common in Kelowna neighbourhoods that border onto forests. But Zoobkoff and other longtime residents of Rutland and Mercury roads in Rutland say they've never before encountered one of the animals in their area.
"I've been here for more than 40 years and never seen a coyote around here," said Arlene Gaal. "And it's the size of this one that's really concerning. It looks like it must be around 80 pounds."
The coyote has been seen several times in the past few days, including once when it was taking an evening stroll down the middle of the street.
Residents have tried to scare the coyote off by shouting and making loud noises, but it seems to be a particularly brazen canine.
"He just looked at us, like he was having a merry old time, before he walked away," Zoobkoff said.
Residents have called the B.C. Conservation Officer Service. Officers told them they're logging the number of complaints before deciding whether to take any action.
The service says reports about coyote sightings have risen recently. Between April and October in 2012, there were 700 calls. During the same period last year, there were 900 calls, according to a recent report on the CBC. But the number of reported coyote attacks on pets declined during the same period - to 155 from 170.
A Summerland woman suffered bites and scratches to her hands and arms when several coyotes set upon her as she walked a dog in a semi-rural area last month. Conservation officers later killed two coyotes in the area.
"(Coyotes) are a good thing in the environment," conservation officer Jim Beck said at the time. "They take care of a lot of rodents and ground squirrels and marmots, but when they start to act in this manner, it's concerning."
On its website, the B.C. Conservation Officer Service says it is not normal for coyotes to attack or pursue people, especially adults. Reports of coyotes behaving aggressively should be phoned in to 1-877-952-7277.