NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — The Craven County Animal Protective Services is telling people how to protect their pets and themselves against coyotes.

Workers with the service say it is currently coyote mating season. People may see more signs of coyotes around their homes. They said the first thing people should do is avoid leaving pet food outside, as it may attract the coyotes.

Owners should also keep their pets on leashes no longer than six feet and leave lights on when they’re outside. If someone does encounter a coyote, the best measure is to make a lot of loud noises and make yourself look big.