Once you have seen a dog that you want to help, there are several steps that you will want to execute. One of the first steps, depending on the situation, is to find out if anyone else knows about the dog and what they know. You will want to make allies with other people who have seen your dog.
1. Establish yourself as the go-to person for information about the dog. Even if you need to rely on other people, there should be one person who is the Key Contact for the dog.
2. Ask everyone you see if they have seen the dog before. If they have, ask if they have tried catching the dog or if the dog will approach them. The people who answer yes may be able to help you catch the dog.
3. Create a handout with your contact information and a picture of the dog so you can distribute it.
4. Talk with neighbors around the capture area to let them know you are planning a humane capture and you need their help. Don’t forget businesses as well as residences. Give them your contact information so they can let you know when and where they see the dog. (Ask them to report dates, times, exact locations.) Also, ask them not to feed the dog. Explain that controlling the food source and having a schedule is key to catching the dog. Reassure them that you are feeding the dog so they don’t worry.
5. If you talk with someone who is unfriendly or unsupportive of your plan, be pleasant anyway. They may come around when they see you are acting in the best interest of the dog. You may also need access to their property, so it may be helpful to position your plan as a benefit to the neighborhood.
6. Develop a plan for the dog once it is caught. Will you be taking the dog to the vet? To a friend’s back yard? Your own back yard? Have a back-up plan (or two) in case things don’t go perfectly. For example, if you planned to take the dog to the vet, but you catch the dog late in the day or on the weekend, make sure there is a safe, temporary place for the dog to stay.
7. Talk with trusted friends and colleagues to line up a reliable feeding plan (http://duckteam6.org/how-to-establish-a-regular-feeding-plan/). The dog will have to be fed at the same time(s) and the same place every day. When choosing a place to feed, but sure to pick some place away from traffic.