Please use the Incident Report to report any aggressive activity by a dog that could endanger the health and/or safety of any dog or person entering the dog park. How D.O.G.S of Vernon will treat incident reports and aggressive behavior is outlined in the Grievance Policy below.
Vernon Dog Park Grievance Policy
The Vernon Dog Park is maintained by D.O.G.S. of Vernon, a local 501(c)(3) non-profit. It is completely separate from the township of Vernon and receives no taxpayer funding from the township.
D.O.G.S. of Vernon encourages owners to resolve issues that arise at the Park amongst themselves. If a dialogue between owners is unsuccessful, or if a person or dog is injured at the Park, the owners involved should submit a complaint to the Board of DOGS of Vernon.
This policy outlines how the Board will address the complaints it receives from visitors.
When to File a Complaint
The Board will consider complaints that are related to the following:
- unwanted and/or aggressive behavior of a dog at the Park
- violation of a Park rule by a person that cannot be successfully resolved without Board intervention.
- Complaints about personality conflicts among members will not be considered unless they are directly relevant to aggressive behavior by a dog or violation of a Park rule.
- Violations of local, state or federal law should be immediately reported to appropriate authorities. D.O.G.S. of Vernon does not have the legal authority to enforce local laws.
How to File a Complaint
Complaints should be submitted by filling out our Incident Report. Please use this form to report any aggressive activity by a dog at the park that could endanger the health and/or safety of any dog or person entering the dog park. Responses will be forwarded to every member of the Board. If the form is not functioning, submit your complaint in writing via email to [firstname.lastname@example.org]. Complaints should be succinct and include the date of the incident, the dogs and/or persons involved, a brief description of what happened and what resolution was attempted.
NOTE: The Board will not address complaints that are not submitted in writing or are not submitted by those directly involved. Supporting witness statements will be taken into consideration but will not be solely relied upon for decision-making.
Board Response to Complaints
The Board will work with owners and their dogs on a case-by-case basis to resolve issues at the Park. The Board will take progressive action to address complaints as outlined below.
After a complaint is reported, a member of the Board will attempt to notify the owner of the dog that the complaint was filed against.* The owner will be reminded of the grievance policy and that failure to act on improving their dog’s behavior in the park can have consequences.
- If the complaint involves aggressive behavior, but does not result in injury (i.e. growling, biting or unwanted rough play that is not broken up in a timely manner), up to two notifications may be sent before corrective action is required.
- If a dog physically injures another dog or person, the dog will be immediately suspended from the Park and the owner will be required to undertake corrective action as outlined below to return to the park.
*NOTE: If you are unable to provide contact information for the other person involved, and if the Board does not already have this person’s contact information on hand, the Board will be unable to notify the other party and take next steps. It is still recommended to file a report to document the incident.
2. Corrective Action
If a dog continues to show aggressive behavior, or physically injures another dog or person, the Board will suspend or limit the dog’s use of the Park until corrective action, such as training, has been taken. The Board may request a statement/certificate from the trainer to demonstrate corrective action has been taken.
3. Park Ban
If corrective action does not prove successful and a dog continues to cause problems at the Park and/or if the conditions of re-entry into the Park are not met, the Board will ban the dog from the Park.
- If a dog injures a dog or a person on two separate occasions, the dog will be banned from the park without a formal grievance process.
- If an owner has a dog that is currently undergoing corrective action, the owner can bring other dog(s) to the park that are not undergoing corrective action. Only the dog undergoing corrective action cannot be at the park until proof of corrective action is demonstrated.
Recommendations for Avoiding Incidents at the Park
- Remove your dog from the Park when aggressive behavior occurs.
- Be mindful of the entrance gate. When a new dog arrives, call your dog or fetch your dog from the gate to allow a new dog to enter without incident.
- Your dog should wear a regular collar and the leash should be easily accessible. Remove pinch collars, choke collars, bark collars, spray collars, and shock collars before or upon entering the park.
- Keep your dog in sight at all times.
- Focus on your dog while in the park. It is not acceptable to be reading, on the phone, or in a deep conversation with other owners if this keeps you from paying attention to your dog.
- Small dogs (under 30 lbs.) use the large dog area at their own risk. Small dogs should be taken to the small dog area if an incident occurs when in the large dog area. Agitated dogs should be separated and taken to another side of the park to calm down.