DENVER — A mangy coyote was spotted earlier this week walking through Washington Park during the day as people walked with their dogs and children nearby.
Cassie Childers was walking her client's dogs Wednesday afternoon when she heard a woman yelling about a coyote.
"I've seen one, like, way off in the distance at dusk. I've never seen one just in broad daylight where it was approaching people, kids, dogs, inspecting everything," she said.
She feared it would get too close, so she pulled out her pepper spray just in case.
"I even took the safety off. I was so prepared to pull my dogs back, step between them and spray," Childers said. "I was stunned because I thought I was pretty aware of my surroundings, but I never expected a coyote to come up behind us in a park."
According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, coyotes are common in urban areas like neighborhood parks, but they're mostly active at night.
"One thing that we see a lot of with coyotes that have mange is that they do become more active during the day," CPW spokesperson Jason Clay said.
The coyote in the video Childers shared on NextDoor appeared to have a bad case of mange, which may explain its walk to the park at that time of the day.
"We've had a couple of reports of coyotes or a coyote in Wash Park over the last couple of days, and it's not something unusual there," Clay said. "People may think it's unusual for a coyote in that urban area, but coyotes are extremely adaptable and they make a good living in our urban areas all across the metro area."
But he warns people should continue to keep their dogs on leashes as coyotes can display aggression if they're feeling territorial, especially if their pups are nearby.
"Coyotes can definitely go after your pets for different reasons," Clay said. "Don't ever let your dog have any interaction with a coyote."
Childers plans to keep an even more watchful eye after her encounter with the wild animal.
"They're wild animals, and they're going to get food where they can get food," she said. "And if that food is your Pomeranian ... you have to be careful and you have to be aware of your surroundings."