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Volunteer group brought in to wrangle stray dog in Stephen, Minn.

A stray dog that has eluded capture for several months in Stephen, Minn., pauses Monday while walking around a neighborhood. Photo by Brandi Jewett/Grand Forks Herald.

The Retrievers, an organization focusing on finding lost pets based in the Twin Cities, has taken over the case of a large black dog that has become a familiar face in the town of about 700 people.

Numerous attempts to capture the dog by county law enforcement — including the use of a tranquilizer dart — have failed.

Concerned resident Jane Smidt has been documenting the dog's appearances and even held a fundraiser that brought in about $350 to be put toward a trap and the dog's care if caught. She dubbed him Dodger after his antics.

"I don't want to give up, but I don't know where to go from here," she told the Herald last month.

After a story about the dog ran in the Herald on May 20, Smidt said she received a number of suggestion from readers, one of which led her to The Retrievers.

The group specializes in humanely catching lost pets and skittish dogs using traps of their own design.

The Retrievers placed a trap in the yard of resident Brian Anderson, who feeds the dog daily. After Dodger appeared very wary of the organization's usual trap, a large dog kennel was modified to serve as a more spacious trap. It has a door rigged to shut once triggered by an animal or remotely by a human.

"We've been working with the property owner that's been feeding the dog and trying to get him acclimated to the trap and getting used to and comfortable going into the trap," Retriever team member Greg James told the Herald last week.

The group has chronicled the case on its Facebook page through case manager Brian Torkelson, who is based in Crookston. Dodger, one of the many names given to the dog, has still been weary of the trap, Torkelson reports.

"Well, we are all hunkered down to spend the night now. We will see what tonight brings," Torkelson wrote on May 21.

As of May 29, Dodger was eating at the door of the trap but had yet to go inside.

The group reminds residents that Dodger should not be approached directly, as it may scare or stress him. The Retrievers say help is appreciated but those offering should contact Torkelson or Smidt at 218-478-2456 for details. That number can also be used to report Dodger sightings.

On the Web

Updates on Dodger's case can be followed on The Retriever's Facebook page at