Effective 2013, we combined our safety first initiatives with our Incident Committee activities. The group is now called the Safety and Incident Committee (SAIC). The committee is comprised of dog park members and they are selected carefully by SWCDP management. Committee members must demonstrate the ability to review cases objectively and without emotion, looking at the facts of each individual case, without bias. If a SAIC member is directly involved in the case (their dog), they will be excused from the review. Committee members must also make a commitment to the confidentiality inherent in reviewing such cases and agree not to discuss the case details at large. This is because we do not want any dog or human to be labeled or be viewed in a negative manner by other dog park members. If a dog or human is determined to be a serious safety risk, their membership will be terminated or other measures will be taken for remedy. But, because we are dealing with dogs – animals – we understand that dogs will get into scuffles from time to time, and some dog play styles or energy levels may not mesh well with others. This does not mean they are bad dogs and should not be labeled as such.
Our committee exists only to provide an organized manner in which to process and review situations in which our rules have been repeatedly broken, an injury has occurred, aggressive behavior is exhibited on an ongoing basis, physical threats have been made, trespassers have been discovered, or other situations which may create an unsafe environment. SAIC has the authority to terminate a membership or require additional actions, such as outside training, consultation, etc. If the committee reaches an impasse or a difficult scenario arises – the Incident Report will also be evaluated by the SWCDP Board. SAIC decisions are final. SAIC does invest time and effort to make sure we have as much detail as is available, including witnesses, photos, etc. We give all involved parties a fair opportunity to present their interpretation of the situation. SAIC is not responsible for negotiating financial disputes between members. We do, however, factor in how members handle dog fights in which their dog has caused injuries. Taking responsibility for their dog’s actions is important.
Conditions of membership include the understanding that members use the dog park at their own risk and that the playground is self-directed with no day-to-day management. Both dogs and humans can have a bad day and SAIC does not need to know every time there is a scuffle or disagreement on the playground. Please use this system frugally so not to overload our volunteer committee.
For dogs whose names keep popping up as trouble makers or are constantly in scuffles, etc – we keep a list and watch for a trend line of behavior. Not all dogs like one another, and any dog can have a bad day. But if we see ongoing behavior leading to bullying tendencies or safety concerns – or an owner who does not supervise dog (s) appropriately – SAIC will contact them for corrective actions.
If you are witness to such activities that might warrant Watch List attention, a full Incident Report may not be needed but you may send SAIC an email with details of the behavior, including dates, actions, dogs/humans involved.
Incident Report forms are located in display box in our Entry Area and on-line at our website. Provide all required information; use additional space, if needed. Provide of photo of injury or damage, if possible. Witnesses are helpful to collaborate or clarify the situation. Remember, if you do not have names of involved parties, provide a good description or a member name who was there who might help with identification.
SAIC.incident.SWCityDogPark@gmail.com or drop in the secure, black mail box in SWCDP entry area, or mail hard copy to PO Box 191152, St Louis, MO 63119.
Every report is logged in and permanently kept in the SAIC records. Each case is assigned a number. For instance, the first case for the 2016-2017 season will be assigned 1617001. An acknowledgement of the report is sent. Cases are systematically reviewed. If an injury or serious safety issue is involved, SAIC may hold discussions via email to expedite. All others will be processed in order of receipt at the next SAIC meeting, or as soon as possible, as the situation warrants. Case evaluation will include consulting with all involved parties and recommending guidance, tips, or outside help, temporary or permanent suspension of membership, or other, depending on the situation.
Safety and Incident Committee