Repeated encounters with coyotes in Kitchener’s Stanley Park area have residents concerned for their safety, and that of their pets.

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) says coyotes are primarily nocturnal, but local residents say they spotted then in broad daylight.

Danien Schippanoski lives in the area and makes sure she and her daughter are safely indoors before the sun sets.

“We’ve heard them at night, actually, my neighbours have seen them. They were actually walking right down our street at 11:30 at night and they’ve actually been seen at the park behind us at about 6:30 in the evening.”

Other residents share similar stories about sightings in the Stanley Park area, including Magda Pasterkiewicz, who spotted one Monday afternoon while out walking with her mother.

“He came running out here first…I kind of froze because you don’t expect to see a coyote in the middle of the day in a residential area.”

And the sightings aren’t just happening in Kitchener, according to the Cambridge and District Humane Society’s Bonnie Deekon.

“There have been a lot of calls with it, and we have certainly had small animals that have gotten into trouble with coyotes.”

Deekon adds that the coyotes are likely venturing closer to people to look for food, but while they prey on small animals they are generally afraid of humans.

If you do run into one though, “The biggest thing to remember is not to run away from them. Back away, probably carry a flashlight with you if you’re going out at night, and more importantly, just make a lot of noise and that’ll scare them away.”

While it’s not a concern for everyone, some are worried about children in the neighbourhood as it gets darker earlier.

Schippanoski says “I have two kids and we love going outside, but they go after, you know, skunks, squirrels and little people.”

To keep coyotes off your property, the MNR advises people to keep their garbage cans sealed and clean up after their dogs as coyotes can be attracted to the feces.