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Week Three:
September 14, 1998 - September 18, 1998

Legal Considerations in Rescue

Day Two - Part One

Subject: CLASS: Legal & NFP Corporations
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 1998 00:29:11 -0400
From: hhe - hhe@UCS.NET

Thank you Shannon for a most comprehensive and excellent summary.

Let me reiterate and stress points which Shannon touched on that are very important. Responsible action, full disclosure and meticulous documentation are your best defenses against a negligence action.

Remember that as to any dog which you handle you are a link in a chain of information. If you do not all you can to elicit information regarding the dog's past; if you lie or withhold information that you develop independently regarding the dog, you break that chain and may bear some responsibility if that dogs actions cause injury to someone further on who was not informed because of your failure to act and/or divulge information. If you take a dog from another person or entity it is your responsibility to gather as much information as possible from that source and to include this in the information that goes forward with the dog.

Further, be aware that, in holding yourself out to have some superior knowledge of i.e. or if others are led to reasonably believe you have expert knowledge due to your position in rescue you they rely on your words or actions you may be held to a higher standard than you expect. Be careful in your dealings with your clients. If you have the benefit of being part of an incorporated entity make sure your actions clearly illustrate that you are acting as a part of that entity and in conformance with its rules and regulations. When dealing with clients make sure that you do not appear to them to be acting as an individual.

Some others have rightly mentioned that incorporation has also been discussed in CHAT on the list. Are there any other specific questions or areas concerning incorportation? All are welcome.


Subject: CLASS: Canada on the List
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 1998 00:41:57 -0400
From: hhe - hhe@UCS.NET

At 07:41 PM 9/16/98 -0400, Molly wrote:
We are incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation in Canada, and are in the process of applying for charitable status... Unfortunately, the laws/rules here are different from in the the USA....

Are there other Canadians on the list that may want to share information on this topic? Can you tell us briefly how things differ Molly? Subject: CLASS: Incorporation
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 1998 08:19:59 -0400
From: "Beth E. Widdows" - bew1234@TIR.COM

I am interested in this subject; was waiting for the previous subject to wear out. Are you talking about incorporating just the rescue. Suppose the rescue is associated with a club and the club is incorporated. Is there a reason to incorporate the rescue separately. I'm not asking about opinions as to whether the club and the rescue should be separate for other reasons....just from the standpoint of protection regarding lawsuits, etc. Our rescue is part of the club.

I'd also like to know what it takes to incorporate. Is there a financial cost? Or is it just filling out papers? Do you need a lawyer?

Beth Widdows
Westie Rescue - SE Michigan

Subject: Re: CLASS: Incorporation
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 1998 08:59:40 -0400
From: "Janyne M. Kizer" - jmkizer@PAGESZ.NET

The problem comes in if the rescue and the club split.


Lab Rescue of North Carolina, Inc.

Subject: CLASS: Incorporation
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 1998 08:34:51 -0400
From: "Beth E. Widdows" - bew1234@TIR.COM

I don't know of any reason why you cannot accept donations even without incorporation as long as you are personally willing to keep records, claim any taxable receipts and pay taxes on those receipts. (Are we having fun yet.) I am willing to be corrected here if this is in error.

I am pretty naive about all of this. You have to pay taxes on donations? Is there a minimum amount before you have to fill out a tax form like there is for an individual's earnings?

Beth Widdows
Westie Rescue - SE Michigan

Subject: Re: CLASS: Legalities and Strays
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 1998 08:40:57 -0400
From: Debra Freund - u14001@SNET.NET

Aren't there any legal requirements for a dog owner to identify their pet? The breeder who gave us our rescue Aussie stressed repeatedly to keep id tags on at all times. She even went so far as to tell us to keep the old tags with the previous owners name and address on it until we got a tag with our info.

I think that there should be some recognition that sometimes the door is left open and animals will get out occasionally. It's much better to prevent the situation then deal with having to give an animal back to a previous owner.

Debbie Freund

Subject: Re: CLASS: Legalities - Incorporation
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 1998 09:32:23 -0400
From: Doug Crowne - dcrowne@WATARTS.UWATERLOO.CA

I for one am interested in the subject of incorporation. The obvious thing to do is to speak with a lawyer, but I'd like to hear class members' views and experiences too.

I have been doing OES rescue for years because I am a breeder and I strongly believe that you shouldn't breed if you don't rescue.

I've spent literally thousands of dollars on rescue dogs and had less than a thousand in donations over the course of a decade. I cannot keep this up for ever.

Another thing I'm running out of is time. I need structure and I need associates. It makes sense to incorporate--I think :}

Does anyone know anything about the general principles of setting up a Rescue, Inc. in Canada (specifically, Ontario)?

Sandy Crowne
Rescue site http://www.prodogs.com/brn/heaven

Subject: CLASS: Incorporation
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 1998 06:59:25 -0700
From: Kelly Cruzan - thumper93@YAHOO.COM

O.K. everyone-
I need HELP! Not mental help,(no comments out there) but non-profit help. I have had the IRS papers since who know when, starting them then putting them aside because I get overwhelmed. Now i could have SWORN (not that I would swear on the bible or anything that drastic) that the state of MO told me it would be tons easier to get the 502 thing out of the way THEN do the state thing. Well, I have know of so many people who have gone through the state THEN the IRS.

So what I am getting at is, do I really do state first or is the state trying to blow me off and make things easier for them buy telling me to go through the IRS first? I am so confused and would like to get this crazy thing done.

If anyone could pass some info my way, I would greatly appreciate it.


Kelly Cruzan

Subject: Re: CLASS: incorporation
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 1998 10:17:22 -0400
From: Laura Georgi - georgil@CLEMSON.EDU

There's a booklet available on incorporation and tax exemption for non-profit organizations in South Carolina. I copied the order form out of the Clemson library copy. The weird thing is, my copy doesn't have an order form in it, so if anyone is interested in the information I'll have to see if I can run down the library copy again (which I am willing to do -- email me privately if interested; georgil@clemson.edu). If that makes any sense.


Subject: Re: CLASS: Legalities and Strays
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 1998 11:45:11 -0500
From: "Bonnie Anthony M.D." - banthony@clark.net

Muhlbauer, Cinnamon wrote:

Obviously, this can't work for homes with human children, lots of foot traffic or active dogs, in which case I would say microchipping/tattooing and a tag might be needed. LOL

Cinnamon, I have 5 children, so there are lots of foot traffic, lots of activity around the house etc and 4 labradors who would like nothing better than to hot foot it to the park or the nearby pond, on their own!

Like you described, although in a sense my situation is easier than yours, I am very careful about access to doors for my dogs. The backyard 6 foot fence gates are always locked, period. No one enters the back yard. Every door in my house that goes out has a set of locked safety doors, an air space you can stand in, and then the regular house doors. Thus is someone carelessly opens the house door, the furthest the dog can get is to the air space. The UPS man just rings the bell and leaves the package outside (I think he is terrified of my dogs!) and service men have to enter via the garage which then is thru 3 sets of doors. When we recently redid our kitchen, I took the bid of the people who knew the most about dogs and who, in writing, committed themselves to abiding by the rules that no two doors in a row are ever open at the same time. It made the construction slower but I worried less about the dogs.

I think, if one thinks about it and plans for it, one can create an environment that is pretty safe for one's dogs.

Subject: Re: CLASS: Canada on the List
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 1998 11:55:32 -0400
From: Lynn Arrand & Dennis Arrand - mankia@MNSI.NET

At 12:41 AM 9/17/98 -0400, you wrote:
Are there other Canadians on the list that may want to share information on this topic? Can you tell us briefly how things differ Molly?

Yes I am Canadian, don't post often due to the difference in rules. I do private rescue of Basenjis so am not a rescue group but an individual. Not many B's (thank goodness) that need rescuing so so far have no need for an organized group of rescuers. We have people in each area that keep eyes and ears open. Last rescue in my area was about 6 years ago, I did do a rescue recently of a dog out of a stud of mine where the owner fell on hard times and I brought the dog in from Minnesota.


Subject: CLASS: fundraising; board insurance
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 1998 11:21:47 -0400
From: Laura Georgi - georgil@CLEMSON.EDU

So, you're incorporated and you've got your 501-c-3 with the feds (and probably spent a few hundred bucks in the process). Think you're ready to start raising money? Maybe not. Many states require charitable organizations to register (another fee. . ., payable annually in South Carolina) before soliciting funds from the general public. If you look at mailings you get from the big national charities, they generally have languagae saying they are registered with (various states) and that this registration doesn't constitute endorsment of the charity by the state(s). If my memory serves, the law in SC goes by the name of the charitable funds solicitation act.

On the plus side, a lot of states, recognizing the importance of the non-profit sector, also have laws intended to limit the liability of non-profit directors, provided they play by the rules. If you're incorporated in SC, the relevant information is somewhere in the middle of the non-profit corporation act, which is a biggie.

The SC code is on the web, but the site doesn't include the commentary, which sometimes makes more sense than the code.

WARNING: I am not a lawyer; I don't even play one on TV.

Ain't this fun?

South Carolina

Subject: CLASS: incorporation
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 1998 10:37:13 -0700
From: boreas - boreas@NETWRX.NET

First go buy this book," How to form a Nonprofit Corporation" by Anthony Mancuso. It runs approximately $50 and has all the information you will need. In the back of the book it gives a listing for each state what is required and the agencies you will need to contact.

It also gives examples of articles and by laws and just has a terrific amount of important information, including how to get bulk mailing rates.

First one must incorporate in your state. Once incorporated then you file to the IRS for a 501 (c) (3) status. After you get this you then go back to your state and get a tax exempt status from them based on your Federal tax exemption letter.

Each state is different in their requirements to incorporate, some states, such as California and Texas have hefty Franchise fees.

You can use a lawyer or if you know a para-legal they can do all the paper work for you. Yes, it cost money and that varies from state to state. Our incorporation in Arizona ran around $600. We did not use an attorney as my partner in crime is a para' legal. The IRS charged us $150 to get our 501 (c) (3) letter.

Victoria Kremer
Southwest OES Rescue, Inc.

Subject: CLASS: Charitable groups
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 1998 13:01:41 EDT
From: Sue Matthews - IMChattin@AOL.COM

Many states require charitable organizations to register

Generally this is through the State Attorney General's Office...

The State of Ohio has a very good web page that explains their concerns and how they regulate charitable groups... would be worthwhile reading for everyone. Don't have the URL handy but it's easily found via a web search..."State of Ohio"


Subject: Re: CLASS: incorporation
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 1998 11:24:00 +0000
From: Pam Bishop - dobra@pe.net

Victoria wrote:
First go buy this book," How to form a Nonprofit Corporation" by Anthony Mancuso. It runs approximately $50 and has all the information you will need. In the back of the book it gives a listing for each state what is required and the agencies you will need to contact.

This book is put out by Nolo Press in Berkley, Calif. They publish quite afew excellent books. I believe they have a website. Try: www.nolopress.com

You can also find this book in many library's as a reference book. Can't check it out, but you can spend hours taking notes.

Nolo does many different books that can be of help to us. Well written and understandable to the lay person (me).

Fox Terrier Rescue

Subject: CLASS, LEGAL: Legal Issues w/ Saying "NO"
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 1998 15:10:48 -0400
From: Nancy Stephens - songbird@VOICENET.COM

I hope this isn't too far off topic for the class, but the recent discussions have made me wonder.

We own a rental property. We are obligated by law to rent the unit to the first person who fits the criteria. (good enough credit, good rental history, etc...) We can't pick and choose from the applicants.

Since our wonderful legal system in the USA considers pets to be property, could a rescue get in legal hot water by not giving someone a dog just because they don't meet some small criteria? Not the big stuff, but things like "I just didn't have a good feeling about them", or "they have a doggy door".

This is NOT a criticism of anyone. I feel that rescuers should have the right to deny people a dog. I'm just questioning whether or not the law sees it that way.

I'm also curious as to how you tell people that you don't think they are eligible for a dog, especially when it's not for a major reason? Have you ever had anyone threaten you or get physically violent? I can't imagine that people would take it very well.

Obviously I'm new to all this. I'm just fostering right now, but want to get more involved. My apologies if this is a really dumb question.

- Nancy

Nancy Stephens

Subject: Re: CLASS, LEGAL: Legal Issues w/ Saying "NO"
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 1998 15:19:23 -0400
From: Dale Green Young - precious@SHORE.NET

I will say no for whatever reason I want to - If I don't like the neighborhood, I turn them down because I am "unable to obtain home visit." That doesn't mean that they won't let me in, it means that I can't get a volunteer to go to their house - the same reason that I'd give someone who applied from out of my adoption area (I'm in MA and often get applicants from Utah and Colorado. I can't do a home check)

Sometimes, if I think they're fine with adopting a dog, but not with a rottweiler, I'll suggest another kind of dog and call the president of the all-breed rescue group BEFORE I tell the applicants. That way, I can say "well, I don't think that a rottweiler is the right dog. However, Canine Connections has a super labX that will fit exactly what your needs are."

We had an applicant that we turned down because they had some bug infestation at their home that put them in the hospital,a nd both of them had scars on their arms from just getting out of the hospital. There was no way we were going to adopt to them. no way. no how.

I used the home visit excuse on that one too - *I* wasn't going into that home. Neither was one of my dogs.

Day Two - Part Two

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