New State Associations
How to Start a State Animal Care & Control Association
Animal care & control is a difficult profession. The public doesn't
recognize us for our efforts, our cities and counties put us on the
bottom of their totem poles, and critics always nitpick at us. Where can
we turn for help?
Most states have already discovered the advantages of starting
their own association for animal care and control workers. They meet
regularly to exchange ideas, to conduct training programs and to share
in professional fellowship. They discover that they're not alone. Most
of these state associations belong to the National Animal Care & Control
Association enjoying the benefits that national participation can bring.
What Do State Associations Do?
Some states conduct annual training programs for animal workers through universities.
Other state associations conduct their own training programs without university affiliation.
As an individual municipal employee, you may be prohibited from
engaging in legislative lobbying; but your state association can. Your
voice can be heard at your state capitol through an active, ambitious
What affects animal control in one state usually affects us all.
State associations communicate with each other to learn about new
trends, new inventions, new legal decisions, new programs, and new
Training films, videotapes, cassettes, and publications are now
available. As an individual you may not be able to afford to buy them,
but your state association can.
The possibilities are endless. The key to remember is this: we're
all in this together, just at different stages. With a state
association, you're not alone.
How Do We Start an Association?
It's really very easy. Just follow this checklist:
Schedule an organizational meeting
First, you need to get several of your fellow workers together
for an organizational meeting. Hold this meeting in a centrally located
city: a shelter conference room, a church meeting room, or a motel will
work out fine. A few long-distance phone calls and letters will be
necessary. Invite as many animal control people as you can from as many
cities and counties as possible. Schedule the meeting on a day when most
people are free. This may mean sacrificing a weekend but it will be
worthwhile. If you're one of those many people who operate a one-person
facility, you may think you can't get away. Make time. (You'll never
become a two-person facility unless you do!)
Why are you organizing?
At the organizational meeting, you'll want to discuss with your
fellow workers what your goals are. Training? Communications? Travel?
Conventions? A lending library? Don't try to do it all at once. It will
take you a while to get organized. The problems will still be here a
year from now!
You'll need officers for your association. It's perfectly legal to
appoint yourselves as interim directors until you can schedule a full
election several months down the road. Or, if you have enough people
present, you can take nominations from the floor and elect full, valid
officers, usually for one-year terms. Try to pick people who are
competent, "go-getters" and stable; you want people who are going to
remain in animal care and control for many years to come!
Your association will need bylaws. Samples are available from NACA.
Feel free to copy them or modify them to your particular needs. You'll
have a lot of decisions to make: how many meetings a year, how much for
dues, how many officers, length of terms of office, etc. You need to
spell these things out. Bylaws are only a working tool to help your
association. They can always be amended later and probably will!
Now comes the legal part. Once you have your bylaws and officers
(even if they're only temporary) you'll want to incorporate. This
declares your association to be a nonprofit corporation. To incorporate,
simply write to the Office of the Secretary of State (c/o your state
capitol) and ask for the necessary forms to incorporate as a nonprofit
association. They'll send you the forms and perhaps an explanatory
brochure. There will be a fee involved, but it's usually small. By the
way, you don't have to incorporate. Check locally to see whether
incorporation is to your advantage.
You probably won't need a lawyer to figure out the forms and file
the necessary reports, but be prepared in case you do. Most states
require only a simple form, listing the officers, the purposes of the
association, and a copy of the bylaws. You may have to have a few
documents notarized, which will cost a few dollars. Send everything back
to the Secretary of State and wait. Within a month or so you should be
At this point, we'd like to encourage your association to join
the National Animal Care & Control Association as your state's chapter. If you
think statewide affiliation gives you some clout, look at what we can do
nationally! There are thousands and thousands of animal care and
control workers across the country. We've finally got a voice.
Joining NACA is easy, too. What we'd like from you are: a list of
your officers, a list of your members including their office addresses,
ZIP codes, and e-mails, a copy of your bylaws. Please include your
check for NACA dues, which is currently $15.00 for each member (8/02).
Your dues will be good for one year from the date they're received;
thereafter, you submit renewals annually . As you renew, please update
your membership list for us. Also, as you add new members throughout the
year, please send us the dues for each one along with all of their
What do you get in return? You get
NACA's help in training programs, communications, job placement and
other projects. You'll also receive the NACA News magazine quarterly, four times a year.
You also get the assurance that NACA will not interfere with your
association. Your internal politics are your own. NACA won't tell you
what to do. We will, however, stand by to help when your members need
Where Do I Go For More Information?
Contact NACA's Corporate Office at firstname.lastname@example.org
for ideas and names of people who can help you. Contact some of the
people in neighboring states who have already organized, too. Attend
training seminars and the NACA Annual Meeting to discuss ideas. Let us
know how you're doing!