The Wisconsin DNR sent out a warning after coyotes start prowling local neighborhoods.
The DNR said it's the time of year the wild animals start to explore new areas.
Residents at 118th Street and Timberline Lane in Hales Corners told TODAY’S TMJ4 a coyote had been recently spotted on several occasions. Some said it has even approached dogs.
One resident snapped a picture of a 30 to 40-pound coyote roaming her backyard on Sunday. The photo has been circulating around the neighborhood since.
"I was quite surprised by the size of that coyote," said Bridget Jaskulski. "He was big, much bigger than I anticipated."
Jaskulski hasn't seen the coyote with her own eyes, but got the warning from a neighbor.
"I was a bit nervous, we have a bigger dog, we have a Newfoundland who's kind of a baby," she said.
A resident who doesn't want to be identified reported the coyote on the Milwaukee County Coyote Watch site. She wrote, “(The animal) 'didn't run when we yelled and came towards our barking dog - and has taken dog toys from our yard."
DNR Wildlife Biologist Diane Robinson said this is the time of year when young coyotes start to disperse from their birth territories.
"The best thing you can do in any situation is to be outside with your pets," Robinson said.
Coyotes normally travel between dusk and dawn. Dog owners who normally let their pets out at night or early morning should stand watch.
"You can scare it away, yelling at it, even throwing things at or near it," Robinson said.
We've all seen the stories of dogs being attacked in Milwaukee County, but the DNR said it's very rare when their owners are near.
Robinson said legally, if you're concerned for your pet's safety, you can lethally remove coyotes. Here in Milwaukee County there are discharge ordinances so you cannot do so with a firearm. However trapping is an acceptable method.