Establish a time period and procedures for claiming ownership of a stray dog if the dog is not coming from a shelter. Recommend a two week period.
For dogs released from a shelter, the release by the shelter is good enough, but check to see if they have any wording about “if owner is found, must return”. Some counties or cities have specific rules, e.g. Knoxville, TN, city statute says title transfers ten days after dog is listed with Young Williams Animal Center.
For stray dogs not at a shelter, I suggest you do more than simply wait the stray period out. Consider incorporating some of these into a stray dog checklist and giving it a couple of weeks. You can administer any necessary life-saving or serious injury treatments needed as well as shots needed to be in compliance with the law, but hold off on neuter and elective procedures.
______Scanned for microchip. Note that there are two different sets of frequencies.
______If tags, the issuing agency called for owner contact info. If owner found, date contacted and result, e.g. surrender, doesn’t want, etc.
______Local newspaper checked on the following dates (at least twice for weeklies, two consecutive issues following date dog first lost. For dailies, scan every three-four days for two weeks after date dog was first found.
______Run local ad in LOST section of regional paper for ___ days. This may vary depending on what time lengths offered by that paper.
______Craiglist posting on this date:
______Is there a local written ordinance on how long a stray hold is and what the procedures are?
______ Call local animal control to check for reports. List dog on any listings they maintain. Make sure you check to see if city or county and which one.
______At least five posters up in area where found. Dates and locations:
______If possible owner is known, send registered letter to last known address.
______If a divorce involved, see if the other pet parent wants the dog.