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Question about putting a rescue group together and such

Posted: Wed Nov 10, 2004 3:35 pm
by Maryellen
ok, if you are a board member, and a dog is adopted out and then inturn bites someone or the adopter can they sue you as a board member ? and, if you are an all breed rescue can you still get 501c3 status? also, if you have an adoption contract and the dog bites either the adopter or someone else can the person sue you for your home assets etc??

Posted: Thu Nov 11, 2004 3:34 pm
by wndrtwns04
Did the board member sign an indemnity clause?
If so, the answer should be no they cannot be sued personally.
Yes, all breed rescues can obtain 501(c)3 status through the IRS.
The organization would be sued for its assets.

Posted: Thu Nov 11, 2004 3:36 pm
by Maryellen
no board member signed anything.

Posted: Thu Nov 11, 2004 4:02 pm
by violet
the up side being most rescues don't HAVE any assets.

Posted: Thu Nov 11, 2004 4:07 pm
by Maryellen
true, but can someone come after a board members personal assets like their home or something if a dog thats adopted out bites? even if the dog went thru a extensive temperment test etc??

Posted: Thu Nov 11, 2004 4:15 pm
by violet
I need to look into that myself. I know our adoption application states that we can not gaurantee any dogs behavior.

Posted: Thu Nov 11, 2004 4:17 pm
by Maryellen
ours does too, but with people being so sue happy, i want to make sure they cant get my home or cars or anything like that. if they can, then i will just resign as a board member and just be a volunteer/foster home then. i can still help the dogs.

Posted: Thu Nov 11, 2004 5:08 pm
by violet
I am almost positive that a board members assets are their own and completely seperate from a board itself. I am pretty sure that it would be like someone suing a company. It would be the company itself, not an individual person.

Posted: Thu Nov 11, 2004 8:09 pm
by Kirstan
You bet they can go after you for a dog bite. You need airtight contracts (as airtight as you can get), a lot of policy on t-testing. You also need insurance (which we still can't get) so if you get that, let me know who you got it through. We're incorporated, are a registered WA. State Charity and have pending status with the IRS for the 501c3 BUT I can still tell you that if someone wants to sue, they will and it's costly.

I won't pull a dog without t-testing him/her first. I won't place the dog unless I think that the dog is a close to bombproof as possible. I'd prefer to have others whom I trust tell me the same thing before I go see the dog since I (along with my husband) stand to lose everything and we DO have assets unlike the rescue. An extra set of eyes on the dog also prevents me thinking I can 'fix' the dog if there is a perceived problem. We haven't placed a dog we were doubtful of for temperament. There have been a couple we've kept a little longer in eval before placement to make sure.

We've declined a lot of people b/c we thought they'd be somewhat irresponsible and irresponsibility also opens us up to lawsuits, however frivolous they may seem. I've interviewed plenty of people that would be fun to hang out with but I'd never, in a million years, adopt a pit bulldog to them. People need to be REALLY responsible and frantic about the breed and breed welfare to adopt from us. Yes, it's a hardline - it needs to be.

Just thoughts from someone who is paranoid every day about getting sued by those incompetent people hell bent on getting compensated for that incompetence in this hyper-litigious society.


Posted: Thu Nov 11, 2004 9:12 pm
by Maryellen
K- thank you, thats the same boat i am in. i want to help get the rescue going again. we were able to get insurance to cover the foster dogs in rescue, at events, and stuff, and the foster homes too, but NO insurance company will cover a dog after its adopted, per the insurance companies i called and dealt with (over 20) once the adoption contract is signed there is no longer coverage for the dog as it now belongs to someone else. the company who would write us was out in utah, here is their info below. they were the cheapest price wise around, and didnt care that we were adopting out pit bulls. the only other agent i found was in florida, and he wanted ALOT of money that was outrageous.The Utah company will even finance the premium and give you installments.
UDA, 8722 S. Harrison St., Sandy, UT 84670 ph 800-257-5590 fax 801-304-5515
Chicago Office: UDA, 303 W. Madison St., Suite 2075, Chicago, IL 60606 ph#800-456-4578 fax #312-408-8081

we tt the adults at the shelters, then bring them to a board members home for fostering they are also tt again in the board home, on numerous occasions. then the board members meet the dog and everyone makes an assessment of the dogs temperment. then, if we are all in agreement the dog is then put on the website for adoption, all the while still being tested in the foster home. then the adopters are tested also, and if we feel the dog and the home is not a match, the dog stays w/ us. we usually adopt out 5 adults a year and the rest are younger dogs. i am so worried that if i become the vp again i am setting my home and assets up for a lawsuit if something happens. i love the breed, but i dont want to risk my house. as a volunteer only i am not responsible, only the board members are. i wont have the say so as a volunteer as opposed to a board member. but i value my roof over my head immensely. we have an adoption contract that was looked over by an attorney and he said its very good, but that anyone can sue and then we wouldhave to hire a lawyer to fight for us , which is more out of pocket money.
i am trying todecide whether to become a board member again or strictly a volunteer/foster home.
the worst part is we couldnt even come up w/ the insurance money to get the insurance.

Posted: Sat Nov 13, 2004 12:58 am
by dawgdays
We were in the same boat you're in now Kirstan; went 2 some years without insurance and walked around knowing that everything we owned was on the line - house, businesses, everything. The benefit was that it made us super anal about our dogs and our adopters. Not a bad thing, really - as I'm sure you'd agree.

Once you have your 501c3 status you have much more protection and are less likely to take a personal hit if some screwball decides to sue you.

Have you come across this? ... When we were shopping for insurance, we were told that we would qualify if we were an all breed rescue as opposed to pit bull only rescue. We considered taking on the occasional bull terrier, etc in order to qualify.