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Policies & Bylaws

To register, all members must agree to and acknowledge the following rules, codes, and best practices.

Bylaws of the Obedience Club of Chattanooga, LLC.
Section 1. The name of the club shall be Obedience Club of Chattanooga, Inc.

Section 2. The objectives of the club shall be to:

  • promote the training of dogs;

  • disseminate knowledge regarding obedience training;

  • conduct classes for the training of dogs and their handlers;

  • encourage the training of judges;

  • hold and support obedience trials, matches, and other performance events under the Rules and Regulations of The American kennel Club; and

  • promote cooperation and good sportsmanship among its members in the training and exhibition of dogs.

Section 3. The club shall not be conducted or operated for profit and no part of any profits or remainder or residue from dues or donations to the club shall inure to the benefit of any member or individual.

Section 4. The members of the club shall adopt and may from time to time revise such bylaws as may be required to carry out these objects.

Article 1 – Membership

Section 1. Eligibility. There shall be six types of membership: individual, household, associate, student, honorary, and lifetime open to all persons 18 years of age and older who are in good standing with The American Kennel Club and who subscribe to the purposes of this Club. Associate and honorary members enjoy all club privileges except voting and office holding. Honorary or lifetime membership may be conferred by a majority vote of the members. Candidates for lifetime membership must have been club members at least twenty years. Household and student members under the age of 18 may be non-voting members. At least a student membership is required to take any class.

For individual membership, a person must have participated in one training course conducted by the Obedience Club of Chattanooga, Inc. For household membership, only one person in the household must have participated in an OCC class. Persons who have previously titled a dog in a performance event are eligible for individual or household membership without having to attend a class. An applicant for an associate or student membership does not need to have participated in a class.

While membership is to be unrestricted as to residence, the club's primary purpose is to be representative of the breeders, exhibitors and trainers in its immediate area.

Section 2. Dues. Membership dues shall not exceed $35.00 per year, payable on or before the 1st day of January of each year. No member may vote whose dues are not paid for the current year. During the month of October the Treasurer shall send to each member a statement of dues for the ensuing year.

Any application accepted for membership ninety (90) days or less before the annual dues are payable will be credited for full payment for the coming year.

Section 3. Election to Membership. Each applicant for membership shall apply on a form as approved by the board of directors and which shall provide that the applicant agrees to abide by the constitution and bylaws and the rules of The American Kennel Club. The application shall state the name, address, and occupation of the applicant and it shall carry the endorsement of two members in good standing. Accompanying the application, the prospective member shall submit dues payment for the current year.

All applications are to be filed with the Secretary and each application is to be read at the first meeting of the club following its receipt. At the next club meeting the application will be voted upon and affirmative votes of 2/3 of the members present and voting by secret ballot at that meeting shall be required to elect the applicant.

Applicants for membership who have been rejected by the club may not reapply within six months after such rejection.

Section 4. Termination of Membership. Memberships may be terminated:

(a) by resignation. Any member in good standing may resign from the club upon written notice to the Secretary; but no member may resign when in debt to the club. Dues obligations are considered a debt to the club and they are incurred on the first day of each fiscal year.

(b) by lapsing. A membership will be considered as lapsed and automatically terminated if such member's dues remain unpaid 60 days after the first day of the fiscal year; however, the board may grant an additional 30 of grace to such delinquent members in meritorious cases. In no case may a person be entitled to vote at any club meeting whose dues are unpaid as of the date of that meeting.

(c) by expulsion. A membership may be terminated by expulsion as provided in Article VI of these bylaws.

Article II: Meetings and Voting

Section 1. Club Meetings. Meetings of the club shall be held each month with the exception of July and December within the greater Chattanooga area at such hour and place as may be designated by the board of directors. Notice of each such meeting shall be sent 5 days prior to the date of the meeting. The quorum for such meetings shall be 20 percent of the voting members in good standing.

Section 2. Special Club Meetings. Special club meetings may be called by the President, or by a majority vote of the members of the board who are present and voting at any regular or special meeting of the board; and shall be called by the Secretary upon receipt of a petition signed by 10 members of the club who are in good standing. Such special meetings shall be held within the greater Chattanooga area at such place, date, and hour as may be designated by the person or persons authorized herein to call such meetings. Notice of such a meeting shall be sent by the Secretary at least three days and not more than 10 days prior to the date of the meeting, and said notice shall state the purpose of the meeting, and no other club business may be transacted thereat. The quorum for such a meeting shall be 20 percent of the voting members.

Section 3. Board Meetings. Meetings of the board of directors shall be held every other month or more often if deemed necessary by the board within the greater Chattanooga area at such hour and place as may be designated by the board. Notice of each such meeting shall be sent by the Secretary at least five days prior to the date of the meeting. The quorum for such a meeting shall be a majority of the board.

Section 4. Special Board Meetings. Special meetings of the board may be called by the President; and shall be called by the Secretary upon receipt of a written request signed by at least three members of the board. Such special meetings shall be held within the greater Chattanooga area at such place, date, and hour as may be designated by the person authorized herein to call such meeting. Notice of such meeting shall be sent by the Secretary at least three days and not more than five days prior to the date of the meeting. Any such notice shall state the purpose of the meeting and no other business shall be transacted thereat. The quorum for such a meeting shall be a majority of the board. All decisions of the board made through e-mail communication must have a vote of a majority of the board members to pass, and the secretary must record and date all e-mail decisions in the minutes of the board.

Section 5. Voting. Each eligible member (Article 1,Section 1) in good standing whose due are paid for the current year shall be entitled to one vote at any meeting of the club at which he is present physically or electronically. Proxy voting will not be permitted at any club meeting or election.

Article III: Directors and Officers

Section 1. Board of Directors. The board shall be comprised of at least seven members: the officers and 2 other persons, all of whom shall be members in good standing and all of whom shall be elected for one-year terms at the club's annual meeting as provided in Article IV. Officers and board members may be elected to serve in a particular capacity for only 2 consecutive years. Any officer may continue to serve on the board after two years in a different elected capacity. Though the club prefers whenever possible to elect new members as officers, still, this shall not be construed as preventing an individual from again holding an office she/he has previously held for two years, after the lapse of at least one year. General management of the club's affairs shall be entrusted to the board of directors.

Section 2. Officers. The club's officers, consisting of the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Training Director shall serve in their respective capacities both with regard to the club and its meetings and the board and its meetings.

(a) The President shall preside at all meetings of the club and of the board, and shall have the duties and powers normally appurtenant to the office of President in addition to those particularly specified in these bylaws.

(b) The Vice President shall have the duties and exercise the powers of the President in case of the President's death, absence, or incapacity.

(c) The Secretary, with the assistance of a designated assistant such as the Membership Committee Chair, shall keep a record of all meetings of the club and of the board and of all matters of which a record shall be ordered by the club; have charge of the correspondence, notify members of meetings, notify new members of their election to membership, notify officers and directors of their election to office, keep a roll of the members of the club with their addresses, and carry out such other duties as are prescribed in these bylaws.

(d) The Treasurer shall collect and receive all moneys due or belonging to the club. Moneys shall be deposited in a bank designated by the board, in the name of the club. The books shall at all times be open to inspection by the board and a report shall be given at every meeting on the condition of the club's finances and every item of receipt or payment not before reported; and at the annual meeting an accounting shall be rendered of all moneys received and expended during the previous fiscal year. The Treasurer, or the Treasurer’s designated assistant such as the Membership Committee Chair, shall be responsible for keeping the paid membership list up to date, and giving a copy to the Secretary. The Treasurer shall be bonded in such amount as the board of directors shall determine.

(e) The Training Director shall be in charge of all training classes and graduation exercises sponsored by the club. The Training Director shall assign the necessary instructors from the club’s instructors list. The Training Director shall recommend all new instructors for confirmation by the club and shall abide by the club’s training policies.

Section 3. Vacancies. Any vacancies occurring on the board or among the offices during the year shall be filled until the next annual election by a majority vote of all the then members of the board at its first regular meeting following the creation of such vacancy, or at a special board meeting called for that purpose; except that a vacancy in the office of President shall be filled automatically by the Vice President and the resulting vacancy in the office of Vice President shall be filled by the board. In such case the board may select a member that has just previously served 2 years in the same capacity to fill the vacant position for the remainder of the current year only.

Article IV: The Club Year, Annual Meeting, Elections

Section 1. Club Year. The club's fiscal year shall begin on the first day of January and end on the last day of December. The club's official year shall begin January 1 and shall continue through the last day of December.

Section 2. Annual Meeting. The annual meeting shall be held in the month of November, at which officers and directors for the ensuing year shall be elected by secret ballot from among those nominated in accordance with Section 4 of this Article. They shall take office January 1 and each retiring officer shall turn over to the successor in office all properties and records relating to that office by January 1.

Section 3. Elections. The nominated candidate receiving the greatest number of votes for each office shall be declared elected. The 2 nominated candidates for other positions on the board who receive the greatest number of votes for such positions shall be declared elected.

Section 4. Nominations. No person may be a candidate in a club election who has not been nominated or who has served in that capacity for the previous two years. At the regular September meeting, a Nominating Committee shall be elected consisting of three members and two alternates, not more than one of whom may be a member of the board. The Chairman shall immediately notify the committeemen and alternates of their selection. The board shall name a chairman for the committee, and it shall be such person’s duty to call a committee meeting, which shall be held on or before September 30.

(a) The committee shall nominate one candidate for each office and positions on the board and, after securing the consent of each person so nominated, shall immediately report their nominations to the Secretary in writing.

(b) Upon receipt of the Nominating Committee's report, the Secretary shall notify each member in writing of the candidates so nominated. Notification must be given prior to the October meeting.

(c) Additional nominations may be made at the October meeting by any member in attendance, provided that the person so nominated does not decline when their name is proposed, and provided further that if the proposed candidate is not in attendance at this meeting, the proposer shall present to the Secretary a written statement from the proposed candidate signifying willingness to be a candidate. No person may be a candidate for more than one position.

(d) Nominations cannot be made at the annual meeting or in any manner other than as provided in this Section.


Article V: Committees

Section 1. The board may each year appoint standing committees to advance the work of the club in such matters as dog shows, obedience trials, trophies, annual prizes, membership, and other fields which may well be served by committees. Such committees shall always be subject to the final authority of the board. Special committees may also be appointed by the board to aid it on particular projects.

Section 2. Any committee appointment may be terminated by a majority vote of the full membership of the board upon written notice to the appointee; and the board may appoint successors to those persons whose services have been terminated.

Article VI: Discipline

Section 1. American Kennel Club Suspension. Any member who is suspended from the privileges of The American Kennel Club automatically shall be suspended from the privileges of this club for a like period.

Section 2. Charges. Any member may prefer charges against a member for alleged misconduct prejudicial to the best interests of the club. Written charges with specifications must be filed in duplicate with the Secretary together with a deposit of $50.00, which shall be forfeited if such charges are not sustained by the board following a hearing. The Secretary shall promptly send a copy of the charges to each member of the board or present them at a board meeting, and the board shall first consider whether the actions alleged in the charges, if proven, might constitute conduct prejudicial to the best interests of the club. If the board considers that the charges do not allege conduct which would be prejudicial to the best interests of the club, it may refuse to entertain jurisdiction. If the board entertains jurisdiction of the charges, it shall fix a date for a hearing by the board not less than three weeks nor more than six weeks thereafter. The Secretary shall promptly send one copy of the charges to the accused member by registered mail together with a notice of the hearing and an assurance that the defendant may personally appear in his/her own defense and bring witnesses if he/she wishes.

Section 3. Board Hearing. The board shall have complete authority to decide whether counsel may attend the hearing, but both complainant and defendant shall be treated uniformly in that regard. Should the charges be sustained after hearing all the evidence and testimony presented by complainant and defendant, the board may by a majority vote of those present suspend the defendant from all privileges of the club for not more than six months from the date of the hearing. And, if it deems that punishment insufficient, it may also recommend to the membership that the penalty be expulsion. In such case, the suspension shall not restrict the defendant's right to appear before his/her fellow members at the ensuing club meeting which considers the board's recommendation. Immediately after the board has reached a decision, its finding shall be put in written form and filed with the Secretary. The Secretary, in turn, shall notify each of the parties of the board's decision and penalty, if any.

Section 4. Expulsion. Expulsion of a member from the club may be accomplished only at a meeting of the club following a board hearing and upon the board's recommendation as provided in Section 3 of this Article. Such proceedings may occur at a regular or special meeting of the club, to be held within 60 days but not earlier than 30 days after the date of the board's recommendation of expulsion. The defendant shall have the privilege of appearing in his/her own behalf, though no evidence shall be taken at this meeting. The President shall read the charges and the board's finding and recommendation, and shall invite the defendant, if present, to speak in his own behalf if he wishes. The members shall then vote by secret ballot on the proposed expulsion. A two-thirds vote of those present and voting at the meeting shall be necessary for expulsion. If expulsion is not so voted, the board's suspension shall stand.

Article VII: Amendments

Section 1. Amendments to the constitution and bylaws may be proposed by the board of directors or by written petition addressed to the Secretary signed by 20 percent of the voting membership in good standing. Amendments proposed by such petition shall be promptly considered by the board of directors and must be submitted to the members with recommendations of the board by the Secretary for a vote within three months of the date when the petition was received by the Secretary.

Section 2. The constitution and bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting at any regular or special meeting called for the purpose, provided the proposed amendments have been included in the notice of the meeting and sent to each member at least two weeks prior to the date of the meeting.

Article VIII: Dissolution

Section 1. The club may be dissolved at any time by the written consent of not less than two-thirds of the members. In the event of the dissolution of the club other than for purposes of reorganization whether voluntary or involuntary or by operation of law, none of the property of the club nor any proceeds thereof nor any assets of the club shall be distributed to any members of the club but after payment of the debts of the club its property and assets shall be given to a charitable organization for the benefit of dogs selected by the board of directors.

Article IX: Order of Business

Section 1. At meetings of the club, the order of business, so far as the character and nature of the meeting may permit, shall be as follows:

  • Roll Call

  • Minutes of last meeting

  • Report of President

  • Report of Secretary

  • Report of Treasurer

  • Reports of committees

  • Election of officers and board (at annual meeting)

  • Election of new members

  • Unfinished business

  • New business

  • Adjournment

Section 2. At meetings of the board, the order of business, unless otherwise directed by majority vote of those present, shall be as follows:

  • Reading of minutes of last meeting

  • Report of Secretary

  • Report of Treasurer

  • Reports of committees

  • Unfinished business

  • New business

  • Adjournment


Article X: Parliamentary Authority

Section 1. The rules contained in the current edition of "Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised," shall govern the club in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these bylaws and any other special rules of order the club may adopt.

Code of Conduct

This Code of Conduct is set forth to protect and advance the interests of the Obedience Club of Chattanooga (herein referred to as “OCC” or “the Club”), Club Members, Competitors, Exhibitors, Students and Visitors; to maintain sportsmanlike competition at training classes, seminars, dog shows, and events; as well as promote respect for people and their dogs. All OCC members are representatives of the club and our sport. Members of OCC will conduct themselves in such a manner as to reflect credit to the sport of dogs, regardless of the location or circumstances.

The OCC requires all current and new members to abide by this Code of Conduct at all times when participating in club activities and when representing the club. Agreeing to, signing, and adhering to the conduct the club expects of its members is a condition of membership for all current and future members.

The OCC is an inclusive club and is committed to providing a space (virtually and in person) that is free of discrimination of all types, and from abusive, offensive, or harassing behavior. All members and guests will be treated with respect regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity or transgender status), age, disability, genetic information, marital status, military/veteran status, political affiliation, and status as a parent.

All OCC members are also expected to support an inclusive, welcoming, and safe environment by adhering to the following conduct standards:


  • Treat other members, guests, staff of venues and other patrons (where a social club function is being held) fairly, equally and with dignity, respect, and courtesy.

  • Behave legally, responsibly and conduct themselves in a manner which will not harm, cause embarrassment or injure the reputation of the OCC, its events, organizers, participants or sponsors.

  • Abstain any behavior and/or comments that are discriminatory, harassing, abusive, offensive, or unwelcome.

  • Refrain from posting any public negative comments about the club, its members, and guests.

  • Never use abusive or vulgar language, or make racial, ethnic or gender-related slurs or derogatory comments at club events, on OCC premises and public forums including all forms of media, social and otherwise.

  • Always abide by event/trial rules and engage in fair competition at any event. This includes any means of gaining a competitive advantage that is considered cheating when participating in club events or other events where you may represent the club by wearing a club-branded apparel .

  • Members will maintain high standards in the health and care of their dogs, always putting the welfare of their dogs above the goals of competition.

  • Only publicize videos, pictures, calendars and other media that are tasteful and uphold the integrity and dignity of the Club membership, determined by a vote of the Board of Directors.​

  • Report any inappropriate behavior of a member to the Board of Directors of the Club for action and follow up.

  • Abide by and uphold the By-Laws and Code of Conduct of the Club.

  • Members are responsible for maintaining current profile information on the OCC website including address, phone number, email, and maintain their dog profile and shot records.

  • Be open-minded and listen when given constructive feedback regarding others perception of your conduct.

The OCC will not tolerate discrimination, harassment or any behavior or language that is abusive, offensive or unwelcome.

Rule 1. Respect & Integrity
Members are responsible for respecting the integrity and dignity of each and every Club member. Members are committed to maintaining the Club as an inclusive organization based on mutual respect and appreciation for the diversity of the social network.

Rule 2. Representation
A member’s character and actions are a reflection of the Club’s reputation. A member shall not behave in a manner that adversely affects the reputation of the Club at any events. Members shall at all times display good sportsmanship and conduct. Whether at home, traveling, at shows or motels, they will treat all present, including other members, volunteers, competitors, judges, officials, and spectators with respect and courtesy.

Rule 3. Confidentiality
Club members are responsible for providing accurate and honest information. Members have a right to:

  • Be treated fairly, equally, and with respect by OCC, its Board of Directors, and other members.

  • Socialize in an environment free from all forms of harassment and discriminations as defined by Federal, State and Local Laws, e.g. Title VII, Americans with Disabilities Act, Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. This includes intimidation, physical, and verbal harassment, and discrimination.

  • Privacy and confidentiality concerning records, documentation and any other communication containing a member’s personal information, unless consent is specifically provided in accordance with OCC Bylaws, Code of Conduct, Club President (or designated representative) approval, and affected member approval.

  • Be informed and actively involved in all Club events and offerings.

  • Voice their opinions, requests, and suggestions to the Board of Directors.

Breaches of this Code of Conduct
Any member not behaving in accordance with the terms of the Code of Conduct at an event of the Club, including but not limited to, meetings, classes, gatherings, whether on or off OCC premises, may be asked to leave the function and will not be entitled to a refund of any monies paid.

Inappropriate behavior of any members will be investigated and discussed, and an appropriate course of action will be taken by the Board of Directors by unanimous vote, which may include a warning, suspension, or revocation of membership without refund of membership or class fees.

OCC, as an AKC club, follows the discipline process as outlined in OCC Bylaws approved by AKC.

By signing this code of conduct I certify that I and all those in my household will agree to abide by the Code of Conduct throughout our entire membership with the Club.




Agreement to Hold Harmless, Waiver, And Assumption Of Risk


I understand that attendance of a dog obedience training class is not without risk to myself, members of my family, or guests who may attend, or my dog, because some of the dogs to which I will be exposed may render difficulty in controlling and may result in injury even when handled with the greatest amount of precaution.


I hereby waive and release THE OBEDIENCE CLUB OF CHATTANOOGA, INC., hereinafter referred to as the “Obedience Club,” its officers, members and agents from any and all liability of any nature, for injury or damage which I or my dog may suffer, including specifically, but without limitation, any injury or damage caused by the action of the dog. I expressly assume the chance of such damage or injury while attending any training class, or any other function, of the Obedience Club or while on the training facility or neighboring area thereto.


ASSUMPTION OF RISK AND RESPONSIBILITY I understand that, even when handled with care, other dogs may be difficult to control and may cause injury to my dog, my guests, or me. I agree to assume that risk and not hold OCC or its agents responsible. I also agree to be fully responsible for my dog, my guests, and myself, and to pay for any damage (including costs and legal fees) we may cause to OCC or others. This paragraph applies to all OCC classes and other functions.


In consideration of and as inducement to the acceptance of my application for training membership by the Obedience Club, I hereby agree to indemnify and hold harmless this Obedience Club, its officers, members and agents from any and all claims, or claims by any member of any family or any other person accompanying me to any training class or function of the Obedience Club, or while on the facility or neighboring area thereto as a result of any action by any dog, including my own.


I also understand the potential health risk in exposing a dog or especially a young puppy, without complete disease immunity, to other dogs. I understand that it is my responsibility to provide all appropriate vaccinations AND understand that I may not bring my dog/puppy on the premises without current shot records. I release the Obedience Club from any liability relating to this responsibility.


I agree that OCC may use pictures of me, my family, and my dog in digital or print media unless I submit in writing a statement withdrawing permission.


I understand that any children I bring with me are totally my responsibility and that OCC requires that I keep them with me at all times.

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