Constitution and Bylaws, Big Sky Working Dogs

Revised 1999, 2003, 2004, 2012, 2014


This organization shall be known as the Big Sky Working Dogs.


To encourage and promote the training of all working dogs toward achieving their IPO titles while following the rules, regulations and guidelines of the American Working Malinois Association and the American Working Dog Federation. To protect and promote the sport of IPO and all working dog sports. To interest and educate the public about IPO and its practical applications. To support and organize IPO trials. To encourage and promote sportsman-like competition at trials, shows and training sessions. To preserve working dog breeds in accordance with their breed standards as a working dog. To promote humane training methods for the working dog and to support responsible dog ownership and breeding practices for all breeds.


BSWD is and shall be conducted as a non-profit organization. All dues, levies, and other income shall be disbursed to promote the objectives of this club, along with associated activities.


This club may be dissolved at any time by the written consent of a two-third majority vote of its active members in good standing. In such case, after payment of all debts and liabilities of the club, its assets and property shall be divided equally among the active members in good standing.


Section A: Types of Membership

Full Members. Full members are entitled to all the rights, privileges and responsibilities of this club including the right to vote and hold office. They have unlimited training privileges and are entitled to a price break on seminars, trials and other events if the club breaks even on the event. The amount of the discount will be discussed and set for each event by the members. Full members are also responsible for cost overruns, the amount to be determined per event. All Full Members must also be members in good standing of their appropriate AWDF breed club. The club will maintain membership in accordance with requirements of the AWMA. Full members are entitled to vote on club issues, hold office if elected, and may pay reduced fees for seminars and trials. Full members must be ready to help at all seminars and trials, may participate in all club training sessions, and will be included on the website, including their own personal page/s if desired.

Family membership is Full membership for a married couple with or without children and confers with it two votes.

Associate Members. May not vote and may not hold office. Associate members pay advertised prices on seminars and trials. They are not responsible for cost overruns, but may be responsible for special levies. They have unlimited training privileges as far as obedience and tracking are concerned, but may not participate in protection.

Satellite Members. These persons are affiliated with the club, but must live outside of the state of Montana. This membership is non-voting, with no membership requirements. Satellite members will receive seminar preferance and may receive a discount on seminars. They may attend 5 work sessions per year and if they wish to attend more, must upgrade to Full membership.

Non-Members/Visitors. May participate in training sessions at the discretion of the training director . Visitors may attend and participate in up to three training sessions at $10/session plus a percentage of any fees associated with use of the facilities (e.g., barn rental in winter). After three sessions as a visitor, there will be an evaluation to determine if the handler and dog are suited to the sport of IPO. If so, the visitor will then be required to submit a membership application for a vote prior to any further participation.

Helpers. A training helper does helper work on a REGULAR basis and comes to training regularly.

Section B: Application for Election to Membership.

Applicant shall attend up to three training sessions, including tracking, as a non-member. There will be an evaluation to determine if the handler and dog are suited to the sport of IPO. The applicant will be informed if their dog is not suited to the sport; however applicants with good nerves, humor, interest and motivation in the sport will be accepted and their dog trained to the best of the team’s ability. Applications for membership shall be made to the Secretary in writing upon forms provided. The application shall be voted upon by the club either in person or electronically. Election to active membership shall require approval by three-quarters of the members. Voting for membership shall remain internal to the organization.

Section C: Resignation

Any member may resign at any time and may be deleted from the membership upon receipt of written letter of resignation by a member of the Board. No monetary refund of dues, training fees, or special levies will be given to a member resigning.

Section D: Suspension

Any member may be suspended by a three-quarters majority vote of the club members. Non-payment of dues may result in suspension. Any member under suspension shall not be entitled to vote or participate in training sessions.

Section E: Expulsion

Any member may be expelled by a three-quarters majority of voting members.

ARTICLE VI: Payment of Dues and Special Levies

Section A: Membership dues and training fees will be voted on by the membership.

Full Members: $100 per person per year. $150 new members for the first year.

Regular Helpers can deduct $50 off their annual membership fees.

Associate Members: $50 per person per year. Satellite Members: $50 per person per year.

Non-members: $10 per dog per training session plus any applicable fees; dog to be worked at discretion of the training director. If an application for membership is received within six months of the third training session and an applicant is accepted into the club, all training fees will be credited to the applicant’s membership dues.

Section B: Payment

Dues are due at the beginning of the club’s fiscal year, and must be paid in full within three months. Special arrangements may be made with the Treasurer in cases of hardship. Members who join after the beginning of the fiscal year will have their fees pro-rated.

Section C: Special Levies

The membership may approve by a majority vote the collection of special equal levies against the membership, to meet the expenses of the club.

Section D: Nonpayment of Dues or Special Levies

Any member whose dues remain unpaid 90 days after the beginning of the fiscal year shall be notified by the Secretary in writing that all privileges are suspended until payment is made. Any member whose share of a special levy remains unpaid for one month after approval by membership vote shall be so notified in writing by the Secretary. If said levy remains unpaid for another thirty days, the member shall be automatically suspended.

ARTICLE VII: General and Board Meetings

General membership meetings to conduct club business may be held by notice of the President of this club. Two-thirds of the membership present at a club meeting constitutes a quorum. The meetings shall be held as needed. The President is responsible for giving adequate verbal or written notice to all members of the meeting.

Board Meetings — Meetings of the Board of Directors will be held as deemed necessary by the Board or President, at a time and place specified by the Board. Notice of such meeting shall be the responsibility of the Secretary. The quorum for such meetings shall be a majority of the Board.

Annual Meetings — A yearly club meeting will be held in October for the purpose of electing officers for the coming fiscal year. Elected persons shall take office immediately upon the conclusion of the election. In the event of a vacancy on the Board, except for the President, the Board shall appoint a member in good standing to fill that vacancy for the unexpired term.

Electronic Meetings. Club business may be conducted via email provided that all Full members have an opportunity to participate in the discussion and to vote via this mechanism. (2003)

ARTICLE VIII: Government

Section A: Board of Directors

The control and management of the affairs of the club shall be vested in the Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors shall consist of: President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Training Director. A majority of the Directors in office being present shall constitute a quorum to conduct regular business. The Board shall have the power to fill any vacancy that may occur between elections.

The President shall lead the Board meetings.

The Secretary shall keep minutes of all Board meetings, and these will be available to members.

The Board shall have general supervision over all disbursements of the Treasurer and shall appoint an auditing committee to consist of three members of the Board who may audit the accounts and records of the club at any time deemed appropriate.

The Board shall have the power to appoint committees and assistant officers from among the membership.

At least three officers shall be members of AWMA.

ARTICLE IX: Officers and their responsibilities

PRESIDENT. The President shall preside at all Board and general meetings of he club. S/he shall have the duties and powers normally associated with this office in addition to those particularly specified in these Constitution and Bylaws. S/he shall be a member of all committees. All club officers and Board members shall be under the supervision of the President. The Secretary shall be listed as club liaison. The office of the President shall be a 1 year term.

VICE-PRESIDENT. The Vice-President shall, in the absence of the President or in the case of vacancy of the office, perform all duties of the President.

SECRETARY. The Secretary shall keep a record of all formal meetings of the club and of all matters of which a record shall be ordered by the club. The Secretary shall have charge of all the correspondence, keep the records and roll call of members, the minutes of Board and general meetings, tabulate all election results, notify members of special meetings, keep an active roster of all club members with their current addresses and phone numbers. The Secretary shall provide new members with a copy of the Constitution and Bylaws and a current list of club members with their addresses and phone numbers.

TREASURER. The Treasurer shall receive, collect and disburse all funds of the club. S/he shall deposit all funds in the club’s name in a bank that is satisfactory to the Board. At each formal meeting, the Treasurer shall give a report of all monies received and disbursed since the last report. At the annual meeting, the Treasurer shall submit an accounting of all monies received and disbursed during the fiscal year. Disbursements can be made only by direction of the Board. It is the Treasurer’s responsibility to keep an up-to-date and accurate accounting of all credits and debits. The Treasurer shall render a formal statement regarding club funds at each Board and general meeting or at the request of the President.

TRAINING DIRECTOR. The Training Director shall supervise the training of all club dogs for IPO and will assist all club members in setting of goals in the training of their dogs. S/he will:

  • determine time and place for training sessions;
  • make recommendations for club participation in various IPO trials;
  • arrange for hiring judges for trials sponsored by the club;
  • shall be in charge of and maintain equipment used in the training program;
  • see that adequate supplies of equipment are available for all training sessions;
  • specify equipment needs and have the authority to order the purchase of up to $100.00 of training equipment without prior Board approval.
  • Assist in the evaluation of prospective member-dog teams and shall make a recommendation to the Board for approval or disapproval.
  • Assist in determining which dogs will be worked in the club.

ARTICLE X: Election of Officers and Directors

The Officers and Directors shall be elected by the Full members in good standing for a term of one year at the annual meeting of the club. Each Full member may vote for only one nominee for each office. If there is more than one candidate nominated for any office, voting will be done by secret written ballot.

All elected officers and directors shall assume office immediately after election results are known. In the event of a vacancy on the Board, except for the President, the Board shall appoint a member in good standing to fill that vacancy for the unexpired term.

Nominations for Officers and Board members shall be made from the active membership at the annual meeting. All nominations must be seconded. Prior to the election, the Secretary shall receive a written or verbal consent to hold office from all nominees.

Any full member whose membership fees or levies remain unpaid on election day shall be disqualified from voting or holding office.

Each retiring officer shall turn over to his successor in office all properties and records related to that office.

ARTICLE XI: Parliamentary Authority

The current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order shall govern this club in all parliamentary situations that are not covered in the law, or in this Constitution and Bylaws, or adopted rules. In case of conflict between the provisions of the constitution and bylaws and the parliamentary provisions of "Robert’s Rules", the provisions of these constitution and bylaws shall prevail.

ARTICLE XII: Disciplinary Procedures

Any member may prefer charges against a member for alleged misconduct prejudicial to the interest of the club. Written charges with specifications must be preferred in duplicate and forwarded to the Secretary with a deposit of $100.00, which shall be forfeited if such charges are not sustained. All charges shall be heard before the Board of Directors only. The Board shall fine, suspend or expel any member from the club, or take other action deemed necessary. The accused member must be allowed to present his/her case to the Board. Any member against whom charges have been filed may, by a three-quarter vote of the Board of Directors, be suspended for a period not exceeding sixty days, or expelled from membership. Any Board member who is the subject of charges may not vote in the proceedings of a disciplinary hearing.

ARTICLE XIII: Constitutional Amendments

The Constitution and Bylaws may be amended, altered or repealed by a two-thirds vote of the active members in good standing.

Any proposed changes to the Constitution and Bylaws shall be formally read at the meeting at which actual voting takes place, and shall appear in the minutes of that meeting. If all members eligible to vote have access to electronic mail, the distribution of the proposed changes and vote may take place electronically.

ARTICLE XIV: Empowered Representative

One person will be elected from the general membership to represent the club to the American Working Malinois Association.

This delegate must be an active member in good standing with the club; s/he must not have any disciplinary action pending from the AWMA. All dues payable to both this club and AWMA must be paid in full.

The AWMA delegate must be empowered to represent the club in all matters, as s/he will be a member of the General Board of AWMA.

Delegates will be elected as appropriate prior to the annual meetings.