A conservation officer has destroyed a coyote that he believes was one of three that attacked a woman and a dog in B.C.'s Okanagan region this week.

The woman, Sarah James, was walking a friend's small Labrador Retriever on Wednesday on the Summerland Centennial Trail, a popular hiking trail in Summerland, when she was approached by three coyotes.

The coyotes went after the dog, and James crouched over it to protect it from the attack.

Coyote killed by conservation officer in Summerland

B.C. Conservation Officer Services' Jim Beck stands next to a male coyote that was shot and killed near Summerland Friday morning. The coyote is believed to have been one of three involved in an attack on a woman who was walking on a trail with a Labrador Retriever on Wednesday. (Brady Strachan/CBC)

As she shielded the dog with her body and one hand, she used her other hand to fend off the attack. One or more of the coyotes bit and scratched the hand she was using to swat them away.

Manfred Wobst, a friend of James, spoke with CBC News and relayed that she felt the attack lasted well over a minute before the coyotes let up and she was able to get away with the dog.

Jim Beck, of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, said a male coyote believed to have been involved in the attack was shot and killed early Friday morning.

"It matches the descriptors of one of the coyotes, but it's very difficult to tell. She said there was one large and two smaller coyotes," Beck said.

Beck said coyote attacks like this one are rare.

In North America, there have only been two recent reported cases of coyotes attacking and killing humans. One involved a woman in Cape Breton in 2009, and the other a child in California.

Coyote sightings reported to B.C.'s Conservation Officer Service are up this year, but reported encounters with other animals are down. 

Between April and October of last year, there were approximately 700 calls about coyotes and 170 reported attacks on pets.

During the same time period this year, there were approximately 900 calls and 155 reports of attacks.

With files from the CBC's Belle Puri and Brady Strachan