A grieving Winnipeg family is urging people to be alert when letting dogs outside, after their pet was killed in a coyote attack.

Kathy Mathae let her nine-year-old dog Spencer outside Tuesday morning, but didn’t attach the dog to its rope. When the family called for Spencer to come back inside, the dog didn’t return so Mathae had her husband go take a look.

“(My husband) saw two coyotes running away. So then both of us went back out and we found Spencer dead," Mathae told CTV Winnipeg on Wednesday. “I reached down to him and there was no life left.”

“We’re going to miss him a lot,” she added.

The City of Winnipeg says coyotes roam in urban green spaces, especially around the city limits. They typically feed on mice and other small animals, but occasionally will go after larger animals as well.

"Coyotes sometimes will go after dogs, sometimes dogs will go after coyotes,” said Leland Gordon with the City of Winnipeg Animal Services. “Especially with small dogs, if a small dog gets into it with a coyote, the small dog is ultimately going to lose."

The city suggests always watching your pets if you don’t have a fence around your yard.

Mathae struggles with guilt after not attaching Spencer to its rope and wants to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen to someone else’s pet.

"Don't let it slip,” she said. “Always keep your dog on a leash. Always keep that eye on your dog."

Manitoba Sustainable Development suggests carrying a container of pebbles to shake while on a walk and making sure there isn’t any loose garbage around the house. If possible, build a fence around your yard or install motion-activated lights.

With a report from CTV Winnipeg’s Beth Macdonell