Please use the Incident Report below to record and report any aggressive activity by a canine member that could endanger the health and/or safety of any dog or person entering the dog park. How the NoMa Bark Park Board will treat incident reports and aggressive behavior is outlined in the Grievance Policy below.
NoMa Bark Park Grievance Policy
The Board serves as an intermediary between Park members and the City of Columbia, which is ultimately responsible for the Park and any related liability. NOMA Bark Park Board 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 Bark Park Board.
This policy outlines how the Board will address complaints it receives from members.
When to File a Complaint
The Board will consider complaints related to the unwanted and/or aggressive behavior of a dog at the Park and/or the violation of a Park rule by a person (e.g. allowing non-members into the Park) 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. The Bark Park Board 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 at www.nomabarkpark.org. Please use this form to record and report any aggressive activity by a canine member that could endanger the health and/or safety of any dog or person entering the dog park. Responses will be forwarded to the Board Chair and Membership Coordinator.
Or submit 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. 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 submitted by Bark Park members as outlined below.
After a complaint is reported, a member of the Board will 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 (i.e. growling, biting or unwanted rough play that is not broken up in a timely manner) but does not result in injury, 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.
2. Corrective Action
If a dog continues to show aggressive behavior, the Board will suspend or limit the dog’s use of the Park until corrective action, such as training and/or muzzling, has been taken.
When formally suspended from the Park, an owner will sign an agreement with the City of Columbia outlining the conditions of their suspension and re-entry to the Park.
The Board may request a statement from the trainer about the disposition of the dog and may request that the trainer, owner and dog meet with a member of the Board at the Bark Park for observation to witness improvements.
3. Revocation of Membership
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 revoke the membership of the dog in question.
If a dog injures a dog or a person on two separate occasions, the dog’s membership will be terminated immediately without a formal grievance process. If an owner brings more than one dog to the Park for which corrective action is required in order to safely use the Park, the owner may no longer be allowed to bring dogs to the Park.
Recommendations for Avoiding Incidents at the Park
Leash or 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 regular collar and the leash should be easily accessible. Remove harnesses, 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.
Please use this form to record and report any activity that could endanger the health and/or safety of any dog or person entering the dog park. Responses will be forwarded to our Bark Park Board Chair at email@example.com and our Membership Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.