SARNIA, ONT. -- Officials says it’s a growing worry throughout the area, but particularly in and around Brights Grove.

One Sarnia city councillor says, from personal experience, the advisory about coyotes is not one to ignore.

Bill Dennis has had recent encounters with the animals, near his home in Brights Grove.

“Driving down the road I’ve seen one. As matter of fact, I’ve come along this nature trail, I don’t live too far from here, and I’ve seen the remnants of what they can do and it is very, very concerning.”

Coyotes are such concern that the City of Sarnia now has a city-wide warning up about what it calls a “more and more common” problem with the animals.

It seems word has reached Brights Grove. Megan Stewart, who has young children and a dog, acknowledges some neighbours are talking about keeping pets indoors.

She’s also heard coyotes howling at night, of late.

Still, after growing up on a farm, she’s taking a cautious but not alarmist approach.

“Now that I live in a neighbourhood, and we have a house dog rather than a farm dog, I’m just more aware when I let him out at night. I turn the lights on and I can’t say that I felt threatened by them in our neighbourhood."

But with more sightings, there is a chance you’ll come across a coyote wandering a trail.

Should that happen, one tip is to yell “Go away coyote!” If that fails, they suggest you bang something or throw something near, but not at, the animal.

Still, encounters are unlikely, so being proactive is the best plan. As in London, where coyotes have been an ongoing concern, it’s advised you don’t leave out food sources or garbage that might attract them.

A simple step that could prevent your small pet from being a victim, Dennis contends.

“Unfortunately, we go to the local grocery store here and you see pictures of of animals that are missing, cats and such, and then of course you come on here and clearly see animals who have not perished from being hit by a vehicle.”

More information on the coyote concern in Sarnia can be found here.