The Conservation Officer Service is advising people to keep their pets on a leash following a coyote attack in Aberdeen last week.
Kristin Simkins took to Facebook to warn others after one of her dogs and a friend of hers were attacked by coyotes on a trail at the end of Howe Road.
In the post, Simkins said she was walking with four large dogs when they "went nuts" and she saw two coyotes behind them. Her Labrador retriever was bitten, as was a friend of hers who tried to intervene and separate the animals.
Conservation officer Graydon Bruce said coyote attacks on people are "incredibly rare," but added people are advised to carry something like a walking stick or bear spray.
"Especially if they're walking their dogs in off-leash rural areas — just some type of means to protect themselves," he said.
Bruce said more often than not, pets — even large dogs — are an attractant for "pretty much every type of wildlife," rather something that will keep wild animals away.
"It’s a time of year where deer have fawns, coyotes have pups, bears have cubs ... It’s generally the off-leash dogs that cause the issue," he said.
The danger to people tends to occur when spooked pets flee from predators — coyotes, bears, cougars — and head back to their owner, bringing human interaction into play, or when people try to intervene between attacking animals and pets.
Bruce said walking off-leash with pets is especially risky when in a low-visibility environment, where it's easier to run into wildlife unexpectedly.
Conservation officers responded to the incident and placed signs in the area warning of the coyotes. Typically, Bruce said, there are between one and five similar incidents each year.
Reports of coyotes in Kamloops are less common than reports of black bears, deer and even cougars.
Data from WildSafeBC shows 25 or fewer coyote reports per year from 2016 to 2019. Black bear reports, meanwhile, range from 125 to 350 each year, deer reports are between 95 and 240 each year and cougars account for about 35 reports each year.