The Association will monitor complaints to identify dogs which offend and need to be more effectively handled to ensure that dogs and their owners are able to enjoy the Park without fear of injury and harassment. Complaints about owners who do not clean up, bring in food, allow their dogs which are not spayed or neutered to upset other dogs, bring in unsupervised children, etc. will also be followed up. Park users are encouraged to report incidents they witness of dog harassment or attacks and those times when owners are not controlling their dogs. Your participation matters.
Education is an important part of the complaint process. Many Park users are new to the norm of behaviour at off-leash parks. Some complaints will be about normal behaviour, while some owners will need to learn to intervene before a problem occurs, as well as to discipline their dogs more frequently.
Park users are asked to make friendly requests to other users who are not respecting the Guidelines and to make appropriate suggestions to those not properly handling their dogs. Report the conduct when these methods are ignored or rebuked. Any complaint involving a dog can also be taken to Animal Control, rather than to the Association, and they will take appropriate action. It is the opinion of the Board, however, that it is preferable that this Park and the Association be self-regulating so as to best meet the needs of all Park users.
- 1. Any Park user can report a complaint to an Association Director in writing who will pass on the report to the Board. Obtain as much information as possible about the event and use the complaints form if available. Complaints must be received in writing.
- 2. A Board Director will contact the people involved and any witnesses available to determine the circumstances and cause of the incident.
- 3. The Committee as a whole, or individuals on it, will rate the first complaint on a point scale of 0 to 5 - with 5 being the most serious. Points are assigned as follows:
- 0 - Human dissent - dog behaviour within acceptable norm.
- 1 - Sign of misbehaviour that needs to be checked by owner.
- 2 - Owner needs better control of dog, e.g. lets dog roam too much, disregards others' concerns.
- 3 - Dog's interactive behaviour showing aggression.
- 4 - Overly aggressive behaviour.
- 5 - Flesh penetrated or injury requiring treatment.
- 4. Upon receiving a complaint, the Board will advise both parties involved and provide them with an outline of the complaint process and the point system. Advice will be given on the action required or suggested e.g. take obedience training or, in the case of 5 points involving penetrated flesh, muzzling of the dog on all future Park visits. A record of the complaint and outcome will be recorded.
- 5. Further complaints will be rated on the 0 - 5 scale noted above, i.e. 6 - 9 would involve a repeat complaint with the points added to the original complaint rating. 5. A complaint bringing the total to 10 points would involve mandatory muzzling or, if two 5-level complaints, permanent banning from the Park.
The complaint process will be as confidential and circumspect as possible. Emphasis will be on educating dog owners to control their animals, but priority will be given to ensuring that the Park is safe for all who use it. Good dogs must not be driven from the Park by (rare) unusually aggressive dogs or, more commonly, dog owners who cannot or will not recognize bad behaviour and take steps to control it.