Starting a Chapter
A LOAL Chapter needs:
There is no fee to become a Chapter. Individual members pay yearly membership dues to the National Organization. Local chapters can accept donations and/or organize fund raising events to cover local expenses. No one associated with Love on a Leash® is to charge for visits or ask for donations from those who are visited. Laws vary, but Chapters may need to formally register as a charity in the state where they reside.
- Two or more certified LOAL members
- A Chapter Leader
- At least one established visit
Another organization may sponsor a Love on a Leash® chapter. A hospital could start a therapy program, as an arm of their auxiliary, and have it administered by LOAL. An animal rescue group can form a chapter to provide community service and to promote their own agenda. Care must be taken, however, to make certain that there is no co-mingling of funds, and no direct fundraising through LOAL. One organization cannot raise funds for another. If the Chapter Leader is from the sponsoring organization, the leader must be at least an Associate Member of LOAL.
A chapter may structure itself in any number of ways. Our first and largest chapter, San Diego North County, California, is loosely organized. It does have a regular schedule of organized visits, but members visit as their schedule permits and there are no regularly required meetings. An obedience class is offered one night per week. Participation is not required but it does offer an opportunity for members to socialize, brush up on their obedience work, and learn more advanced skills. San Diego North County has a chapter leader who keeps the whole thing together and communicates, via e-mail, regarding any schedule changes or activities. They also have their own checking account and do a limited amount of fund raising.
Chapters may impose additional requirements on their own chapter members, but may not contradict or negate national guidelines. They may have periodic meetings as well as a requirement for a minimum number of monthly or annual visits. Some of the chapters require additional obedience skills and ongoing training. Just remember to continue making participation as easy as possible for qualified individuals. Because LOAL members are not required to join a chapter, respect other properly certified Love on a Leash members that you meet within the community who choose not to join your chapter.
A Chapter, though unique in personality, reflects the purpose and function of Love on a Leash: to support and guide certified Visit Teams and uphold high standards and values. We are basically self-governing so this becomes each Chapter's responsibility.