Saturday, July 7, 2012

Ethics And Accountability in the Nonprofit Sector

Ethics and Accountability in the Nonprofit Sector

“The greatest threat to the not-for-profit sector is the betrayal of public trust, the disappointment of public confidence. Virtually all knowledgeable observers of the not-for-profit scene believe that an overwhelming proportion of not-for-profits are honorably run...that admirable context, however, does not provide much protection to the sector when a sequence of highly publicized disgraceful not-for-profit misdeeds occurs.”
Joel Fleishman, Scholar, Author, Professor of Law and Public Policy, and Director of the Heyman Center on Ethics, Public Policy and the Professions, Duke University
This section provides background on ethics and accountability issues that impact the nonprofit sector. This section also provides resources for nonprofits seeking to formally incorporate ethical practices into their operations and stay abreast of regulations and changing laws that shape accountability practices of nonprofits.
For more information, just click on a topic below:

What is a Code of Ethics?

A code of ethics is a set of principles to guide a nonprofit organization’s decision making and activities, as well as the behavior of its employees, volunteers, and board members. The purpose of adopting a formal code is to provide employees, volunteers and board members with guidelines for making ethical choices in the conduct of their work on behalf of the organization. Honesty, integrity, and fair practices create a solid foundation that earns the public’s trust. A code of ethics is the expression of that solid foundation. When board members of a nonprofit adopt a code of ethics, they are expressing their commitment to ethical behavior.
The National Council encourages all nonprofits to convene a working group of board and staff to craft an appropriate Code of Ethics for your nonprofit. Some nonprofits will want to their codes to reflect or incorporate specific standards, such as those articulated in the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers, or other sector-specific codes. Other nonprofits will want to reflect their own unique culture, activities and interaction with clients, volunteers, and the public.

Why is Ethical Leadership So Significant in the Nonprofit Sector?

Nonprofit organizations are “public benefit” corporations; the purpose of their existence is to benefit the public as opposed to the private interests of their board members, staff or even of individual clients. The mission of a charitable nonprofit expresses the particular way that the organization will fulfill its public benefit purpose. Fittingly, board members are often referred to as “trustees,” which reinforces the concept that the assets of a nonprofit are entrusted to the oversight of its board members who have a legal duty to ensure that the nonprofit uses those assets to fulfill its mission.
It is one thing to exist for the benefit of the public; it is another to earn the public’s trust through ethical leadership and responsible practices. The good will earned by accountable and transparent nonprofits is one of, if not the most important, of its assets. Donors will give to organizations they trust to use their charitable gifts wisely. Volunteers will invest their time in causes when they trust that the nonprofit is acting ethically. And clients and consumers will return to a nonprofit for services, and recommend that nonprofit to others, when the nonprofit has shown to be accountable for its actions. Increasingly, regulators, charity watchdogs, and the media have raised their voices and thus the pressure on nonprofits to act ethically by forcing nonprofits to be transparent in their financial dealings and also to be responsive and accountable when complaints surface about their conduct.

Accountability and Transparency

Two aspects of ethical practice have been most prominent in shaping the recognized ‘best practices’ of nonprofit organizations: accountability and transparency. Read about cultivating a culture of accountability and transparency.

Laws Affecting Nonprofit Ethics and Accountability

One of the most prominent laws affecting nonprofit accountability is the federal law known as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which created significant accountability requirements for publicly traded companies and included two provisions that are also applicable to nonprofits: (a) a prohibition against destruction of documents that are tied to a criminal investigation, and (b) a prohibition of retaliation against whistleblowers. As a result of the Act (and recent revisions to the IRS Form 990) most nonprofits are now aware that they should have a board-approved whistleblower protection policy, and a document retention/destruction policy.
All states have statutes governing the nonprofit corporations incorporated in that state and some of those laws specifically address accountability and transparency issues: for example, some state nonprofit corporation laws dictate the procedures a board of directors must follow to address conflicts of interest, and several states’ laws prohibit loans to board members. State laws and regulations also typically dictate a threshold level of financial transparency through annual filing and charitable registration requirements (available to the public in many states). No state law requires a nonprofit to have a Code of Ethics, however.
In 2004, the California legislature passed the Nonprofit Integrity Act establishes various requirements of accountability applicable to nonprofits (including private foundations) operating in California. Thus far other states have not followed suit. (The National Council of Nonprofits monitors state legislation in this area and will update this information as applicable.)
The recently revised IRS Form 990 includes several questions focusing on accountability and transparency, such as questions about the composition of the board of directors, and questions specifically designed to elicit whether the organization has a written conflict of interest policy, procedures for managing conflicts, a whistleblower protection policy, and a document retention policy. For more background on nonprofit governance and the revised Form 990, visit the National Council’s website resources on Governance.

The Ethics of Confidentiality

Nonprofits often engage with clients and consumers in ways that touch on confidential matters. All nonprofits should consider whether adopting a confidentiality policy is appropriate.

Rating Accountability and Transparency

There are a variety of organizations referred to as “Charity Watchdogs” that rate charities against various measurement standards. Many of these standards include specific expectations for ethical conduct and accountability, primarily in relation to a nonprofit’s relationship with its donors.

Helpful Tip's for Animal Transport

The following Transport Guidelines are recommended for land transport.
Most important Requirement is to have Health Certificates for all animals when going across any state lines. This is USDA APHIS Law and each State as well.
a. Transport vehicles must be cleaned and sanitized to industry standards prior to transport.

b. Proper climate control must be maintained—the vehicle must be able to provide heat and or a/c to the animal housing areas and there must be sufficient air ventilation.

c. Temperatures should not fall below 60° F or above 85° F. Thermometer must be placed in an area where kennels are located and be easily visible.

d. Animals should be transported in separate enclosures (except in the case of litters) with solid, leak-proof bottoms and adequate bedding. Animals should be able to comfortably stand up, lie down and turn around.

e. Ensure access to fresh water for every animal at breaks.

f. At a minimum, stop every 4-6 hours in a safe area to perform a visual check and to clean transport kennels, feed, and water the animals.

g. Puppies should be fed a small meal or snack every 4-6 hours.

h. Adult dogs should be walked or exercised on trips longer than 8 hours.

i. Maximum transport time to a kennel (intermediate or final destination shelter) should be no more than 12 hours.

j. All trips should be made with a minimum of (2) drivers and sufficient personnel to appropriately handle and care for all animals.

k. Driver and staff safety is of utmost concern. Drivers should travel with cell phones, maps, preferably GPS and emergency equipment.

l. The organizations should have an agreed upon contingency plan to address weather, mechanical or other unexpected situations that may go awry during the transport.

m. There must be appropriate Identification on each animal and its carrier during transport.
credit NFHS

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Six charged in Robeson Co. NC dog fighting ring

Six charged in Robeson Co. dog fighting ring
Posted: Jul 05, 2012 3:23 PM EDTUpdated: Jul 05, 2012 3:26 PM EDT


ROBESON COUNTY, NC (WMBF) - Six men from North and South Carolina are facing charges for their alleged involvement in a dog fighting ring after criminal indictments were handed down from a Grand Jury.

A press release from the office of Thomas G. Walker, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, states that 43-year-old James Matthew Blackman, 55-year-old Ricky Dial, and 40-year-old Jimmy Jacobs, all from the Maxton area, 69-year-old Frank Jacobs of Laurinburg, 35-year-old Tony Harris and 59-year-old Ozell McLain from South Carolina were each indicted on dog fighting allegations.

Those indictments show the members of this group used the following methods, while participating in the dog fighting ring they are believed to be a part of:

- trained and bred pit bulls for participation in dog fighting ventures
- traveled in interstate commerce to other locations to participate in dog fighting ventures
- sponsored and fought dogs that had traveled in interstate commerce in animal fighting ventures
- placed and accepted bets on individual dog fights; collected entrance fees to dog fights and secured locations of dog fighting ventures
- provided property in secluded locations and constructed pits to host dog fighting ventures
- offered prize money for winning participant in dog fighting venture

Each defendant is facing five charges, for which they could face a maximum of five years imprisonment and a $250 fine.

This case was investigated in cooperation by the North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement, Scotland County Sheriff's Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Raleigh – Durham Safe Streets Task Force.

That task force consists of the Raleigh Police Department, Durham Police Department, Durham County Sheriff's Office, Cary Police Department, North Carolina State Highway Patrol, Greenville Police Department, Garner Police Department and North Carolina Probation and Parole.
Attorney Walker stated, "Word must go out. Dog fighting, a particularly cruel crime, will not be tolerated. This prosecution stands for our commitment to pursue and prosecute those engaged in such heinous acts."

Alcohol Law Enforcement Director (ALE) John Ledford added, "Dog fighting is, without question, a violent and malicious criminal act. ALE will continue to partner with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to apprehend those individuals who commit such heinous crimes."
Copyright 2012 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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Sunday, July 1, 2012

What to Do When You See A Dog in a Hot Car

  • by Laura Simpson
  • June 30, 2012
Most of us are all too familiar with the feeling of dread that comes upon us when we pass by the window of a car and realize that a dog has been left inside on a hot day. What should I do? Do I break the window? Do I call the police? Do I try to find the car owner? There’s no easy answer, unfortunately, and those decisions are ones that only you can make, but now you can be better prepared for your next encounter.

“My Dog is Cool” is a campaign designed by the RedRover animal protection charity to educate people about the dangers hot weather poses to dogs. Throught their “Don’t Leave Me in Here — It’s Hot!” fliers and posters, you can have what you need on hand to try and influence the behavior of dog guardians who need a reminder about the dangers of hot cars. These are great to place on a windsheild of an offender’s vehicle or to hang on the door of a local business willing to notify their customers that leaving pets in the car is not okay during warm weather.
RedRover advises that if you see a dog in distress in a hot car, you should call the local animal control agency, police or 911 right away and, if possible, you can also try to find the dog’s owner by going into the adjacent business and making an announcement.
RedRover provides the following signs of an animal who is in danger of death by heatstroke:
  • Excessive panting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Increased heart rate
  • Trouble breathing
  • Disorientation
  • Collapse or loss of consciousness
  • Seizure
  • Respiratory arrest
According to RedRover, at least 14 states and many municipalities have laws that specifically address the problem of animals left in cars in extreme temperatures. And some states without these provisions may consider leaving an animal in an enclosed car to be animal cruelty. However, many of us have hit a road block when calling the police to report these crimes as the dispatcher or the department itself often don’t consider these situations a priority. Heat stroke can take hold in just 10 minutes or less, so sometimes the dog simply cannot wait for authorities who may or may not be on the way.
The last time I came upon a dog in a hot car, I waited by the vehicle for the owner to appear. He approached slowly with his companion carrying their Starbucks coffees, in no hurry and with no awareness of the dog’s plight. Truthfully, I found it hard to maintain my composure as I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes, but I wasn’t the one who needed to be embarrassed. He needed to know that someone cared about the soul in his car. He needed to feel shame that a mother and daughter were standing by his sedan, looking after his dog, even though he had not. He needed to know that I had called the police. Though he left in a hurry reassuring me over and over again that his dog was fine, I do hope he’ll think twice about taking the dog along for the ride again on a summer day.
I’d love to hear from some of you have intervened for an animal in a hot car. How did you handle it? Were you successful? Any helpful tips to share?

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15-Year-Old Dog “Dumped” On Ultimate Doorstep

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Why is my dog butt scooting around the carpet, YIKES !

The anal glands are small glands that sit on each side of the rectum and are filled with a thick smelly discharge. They are normally expressed naturally as pets have bowel movements. A small amount of the anal gland discharge is released with the bowel movement allowing pets to "mark territory".

These glands can become clogged in some pets causing problems. When they become clogged, pets may lick their rectums or "scoot" their bottoms on the floor in an effort to relieve the discomfort.

Many groomers routinely express the anal glands when pets are bathed and groomed. Some pet's owners also attempt to do this procedure at home.

There are two basic ways to express the anal glands – exteriorly and interiorly. The interior method is generally what your veterinarian does at which time they put on a glove, insert a finger into the dogs rectum at which time they can feel the gland between the anal wall and their finger. This allows them to fully feel and express the gland. The exterior method allows you to express the glands from the outside. To do this, you basically pinch the rectum closed trying to squeeze the glands as you do it.

Thank you Dr. Jon