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By-Laws


MAINE COON BREEDERS AND FANCIERS ASSOCIATION, INC.
BY-LAWS

(Updated: December, 2004)


Article 1. Membership

A. There shall be two divisions: the Breeder Division and the Fancier Division.
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B. Membership in the Fanciers Division is obtained by sending the annual dues to the Fancier Division Secretary. Fancier Members receive The Scratch Sheet and are encouraged to contribute articles, letters, and pictures to the magazine. Fanciers may attend meetings and participate in discussions. The President may appoint them to committees and their expertise is valued.
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C. Breeder Division membership is composed of member catteries in the following subdivisions:
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XX1.X Provisional Breeder Members
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XX2.X Breeder Members:
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XXXa.X Active
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XXXb. Inactive
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XX3. Associate Breeder members
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D. Provisional Breeder Members
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XX1. Persons wishing to join the Breeder Division must either write to the Provisional Breeder Member Secretary for an application form or use the online application form (http://www.mcbfa.org). The form sets forth the requirements that:
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XXXa.X The applicant must own, co-own, or lease a female cat/kitten capable of reproduction, and must house said female, supervise the pregnancy and birth, and raise and register two litters;
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XXXb. Persons who are not planning to become active breeders are ineligible for Provisional Breeder status;
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XXXc. Shadow ownership violates the spirit of MCBFA;
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XXXd. Falsification of the application or of records is grounds for expulsion.
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XX2.X Along with the completed application form and a signed copy of the Code of Ethics, applicants must submit a photocopy of the registration of the cattery with at least one major recognized cat registration association. (Note: ACA is not a registry recognized by MCBFA.)
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XX3.X A Letter of Intent must also be submitted, to include reasons for the applicant’s wishing to join MCBFA, a short resume about the applicant, how the cattery began, what goals are being sought in a breeding program, who the sponsor is, and other such information as deemed important by the applicant.
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4.X The first year’s dues shall be submitted at this time to the Provisional Breeder Member Secretary.
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XX5.X The application shall contain an agreement to be signed by the applicant stating: “I have read and do promise to abide by the Constitution and By-laws and all MCBFA Codes, and, if I am in violation thereof, I will resign or may be expelled in the sole judgment of the Complaints Committee or as otherwise provided.” MCBFA recognizes that some Breeder Members may not be able to follow all MCBFA Codes since laws in their own states or countries may supersede requirements in the codes.
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XX6.X The application must be signed by the sponsor of the applicant; the sponsor shall be an MCBFA Breeder Member in good standing, who has held full Breeder Membership for at least two years, and whose sponsorship shall not result in the Breeder Member’s concurrent sponsoring of more than two pending Provisional Members. The sponsor will also send directly to the Provisional Breeder Member Secretary a narrative evaluation of the applicant. Associate Members and Inactive Breeder Members may act as sponsors. (See Role of Sponsors under Active Breeder, Section E 2)
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XX7.X Upon receipt of the completed forms, the Letter of Intent, the dues, and an initial written evaluation by the sponsoring Breeder Member, the applicant shall become a Provisional Breeder Member. The membership shall be advised of all new Provisional Breeder Members in the Minutes of the next quarterly meeting, listing the name, address, telephone number, cattery name, cat’s (cats’) name(s), and the name of the sponsor.
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XX8.X Provisional Breeder Members may attend meetings and will receive Minutes, but they may not vote, be on the Breeders List, advertise in The Scratch Sheet, list in any of MCBFA’s services, or use the name or the abbreviation of MCBFA in any advertising or on business cards or stationery. They may list kittens with the Kitten Bank, but all persons contacting the Bank must be advised of listings that belong to Provisional Breeder Members.
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XX9.X Provisional Breeder status will last at least two years after the notice is published in the Minutes.
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X10.X During the two years of provisional status, the Provisional Member shall provide to the Provisional Breeder Member Secretary proof of showing an owned Maine Coon in at least six shows of major registering associations. Such proof shall be photocopies of the catalog page showing the name, date, place, and judges for the show, and the catalog pages for the cat, to be signed and dated by a Breeder Member attending that show, or by the Show Manager, Master Clerk, and/or Entry Clerk for the show.
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X11.X At the end of two years, the Provisional Breeder Member Secretary shall request:
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XXXa.X proof of registration of two Maine Coon litters that are at least six weeks old, which litters must be from two females, or if from one female, no closer than eight months apart;
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XXXb.X proof of cattery visits and evaluations made by two full Breeder Members in the United States and Canada, or one such evaluation for International Region Provisional Breeder members. These evaluations should validate that the cats are healthy and well-socialized and that the cattery is clean and sufficiently roomy; should point out things that are being done correctly and give advice on ways to improve; should indicate specifics such as provisions for safety, well-being, and happiness of the queen and kittens; should indicate what is being done to deal with any concerns the evaluator might have had. Provisional Breeder members, domestic or international, may petition to the Executive Council to approve by majority vote the acceptance of an evaluation report by a reputable breeder of another breed or a veterinarian, or to modify otherwise this requirement in a reasonable fashion;
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XXXc.X a re-evaluation and recommendation by the sponsor sent directly to the Provisional Breeder Member Secretary, which shall. contain information on such factors as continued showing, increasing education about the breed, current knowledge about feline welfare and health, use of sales contracts, and an appraisal of the Provisional Breeder member’s integrity, ethics, and intent.
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X12.X Should a sponsor withdraw or cease sponsorship, in order to retain Provisional Membership, the affected Provisional Breeder Member must replace the sponsor, as evidenced by a new letter of sponsorship by the replacement sponsor, within thirty days after notification by the Provisional Breeder Member Secretary of the withdrawal or cessation.
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X13.X The sponsorship requirement may be waived, on a case-by-case basis by a majority vote of the Executive Council upon petition by an applicant from outside the United States, Canada, or Europe, provided the Provisional Breeder Member Secretary submits a report recommending Executive Council approval on the basis of only letters of recommendation and other information deemed relevant.
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X14.X At the end of the initial two years, a Provisional Breeder Member who has not fulfilled the requirements for advancing shall provide to the Provisional Breeder Member Secretary a written statement detailing the reason(s) for not meeting the requirements in a timely fashion and shall provide a revised plan for fulfilling the requirements within the next year.
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X15.X When time, cattery evaluations, sponsor’s re-evaluation and recommendation, and litter registration requirements are met, the Minutes of the next meeting shall contain a ballot with the names of Provisional Breeder Members to be voted on for full Breeder Member status. Breeder Members shall be given not less than four weeks to return the ballots. A Provisional Breeder Member must receive a total of eight votes (yes or no) on a ballot before advancing to Breeder Member status. A majority vote is necessary. Members not receiving the minimum number of votes will be notified and will appear on the next appropriate ballot. A tie vote is thus regarded as a “No” vote. Should all votes be “Abstains,” then Provisional Breeder Member status is extended for another nine months. The Provisional Breeder Member Secretary shall notify the Provisional Breeder Members immediately about the results (but not the actual vote count), and the results (but not the actual vote count) shall be published in the Minutes of the next meeting.
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X16.X If a Provisional Breeder member is not accepted for Breeder Member status, the Provisional Breeder Member’s status will revert to Fancier status for the remainder of the dues year. That cattery may reapply in one year. Dues paid with the application are non-refundable.
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X17.X Notwithstanding the above requirements, exceptions may be made upon recommendation of the Provisional Breeder Member Secretary and approval by the Executive Council for applicants who have been established and respected breeders of Maine Coons or of another breed for more than five years, who are judges in the recognized registering associations domestically or abroad, or who, for any other reason deemed admissible by the Provisional Breeder Member Secretary, would qualify under this proviso. One year’s status as a Provisional Breeder Member would suffice to educate the applicant about the mission of MCBFA and would allow sufficient time for the applicant to meet as many MCBFA members as possible. The requirements for breeding should call for one litter of Maine Coon kittens to be registered, or in countries that do not use the litter registration format, allow the substitution of a photocopy of an individual kitten registration from the litter.
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E. Breeder Members
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XX1.X Active Breeder Members are defined as those who are current on dues, who have on file with the Breeder Member Secretary a signed copy of a current Code of Ethics and a current litter registration, who may be listed on all Breeder Lists, who have the right to vote on all ballots, who, if they have been full Breeder members for two years, are qualified to hold office and may sponsor applicants for Provisional Breeder Membership, who may advertise that they are MCBFA members in magazines, on websites, in show catalogs, on business cards and stationery, and in any other place or publication. * An Active Breeder Member with more than five years as such who has no current litter registration to submit may, in lieu of such, submit a photocopy of a litter registration showing a stud male owned by the cattery as the designated sire of the litter.
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XX2.X Sponsors of Provisional Breeder Members have a dual obligation - to MCBFA and to the Provisional. The period of Provisional status is a time for sponsors to educate Provisionals about the mission and goals of MCBFA as regards the promotion and protection of the Maine Coon. Sponsors shall:
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XXXa.X be prompt in signing the application form and in providing to the Provisional Breeder Member Secretary the initial narrative evaluation of Provisionals being sponsored;
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XXXb.X encourage Provisionals to start out small and build slowly, being selective with breeding stock;
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XXXc.X make an active commitment to help sponsored establish the best breeding program and cattery environment possible, indicating to the Provisional what is being done correctly and offering guidance to help provide for the safety, well-being, and happiness of the cats and kittens, making recommendations and suggestions rather than dictating exact behavior, allowing sponsored opportunity to learn for themselves;
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XXXd.X provide advice about health issues, characteristics in certain lines, answers to pedigree questions;
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XXXe.X be available whenever sponsored have questions or problems, having not only the knowledge but the patience, time, and communication skills to mentor them;
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XXXf.X assure that Provisionals meet other breeders, encouraging showing as a means to achieve this aim as well as to learn more about the breed itself;
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XXXg.X be active in seeing that sponsrees in remote areas are furnished with names and addresses off MCBFA breeders who can also serve as advisors, counselors, and mentors by mail, email, or phone, as well as by personal contact;
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XXXh.X keep themselves informed about the progress of sponsored and be prompt in providing the required narrative re-evaluation when Provisionals have completed requirements for being placed on the ballot to advance.
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F. Inactive Breeder Members are defined as those who have not supplied a current litter registration and thus will not be listed on the Active Breeder Member List. Inactive Breeder members retain all other privileges such as voting, holding office, and sponsoring applicants for Provisional Breeder membership. They can be restored to official Active Breeder Member status upon submission of the required litter registration.
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G. Associate Breeder Members
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XX1.X Associate Breeder Members shall be member catteries that have retired from actively breeding Maine Coons. They shall retain all privileges of Breeder Members except the right to vote and hold office.
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XX2.X Associate Breeder members shall not be listed on a breeder’s list.
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H. Reinstatement of Breeder Member Catteries which have been dropped:
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XX1.X For one year:
Breeder Member Catteries which have been dropped for non-payment of dues must, in order to be reinstated to active membership, supply to the Breeder Member Secretary a letter seeking reinstatement, accompanied by full back dues payment for the one year in addition to current dues;
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XX2.X For more than one year:
Reinstatement of Breeder Member Catteries dropped for more than one year must be sought by sending to the Breeder Member Secretary
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XXXa.X a letter of intent to resume breeder membership,
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XXXb.X a current litter registration,
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XXXc.X a signed copy of the current Code of Ethics,
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XXXd.X payment of current dues.
After these requirements are met, the former member will be placed on the next ballot for a Reinstatement vote.
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I. Change in Cattery Ownership: Any change in the ownership of a cattery requires reapplication to the Breeder Member Secretary.
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XX1.X If the Breeder Member owners of a cattery decide to split the cattery, membership remains with the cattery name. The owner who has to register a new cattery name must reapply for membership; in such cases the waiting period and the ballot to membership are not required if both owners were voted on when the cattery attained Breeder Member status. The new cattery receives Breeder Member status upon receipt of the completed application, a copy of the registration certificate for the new cattery, and annual dues.
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XX2.X If the change in ownership involves the addition of a person not previously approved as a Breeder Member, that person must undergo the Provisional process for a shortened period of one year, at the end of which time a copy of a litter registration showing the name of the person as breeder or co-breeder of a litter shall be furnished to the Breeder Member Secretary. During this period, the Breeder Member owner of the cattery retains all rights of full Breeder Membership.
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XX3.X Simple name change of a cattery not involving a change in ownership requires only written notification to the Breeder Member Secretary of the name change, along with a photocopy of the cattery registration from recognized registering association.

Article 2. Dues

A. Breeder Division
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XX1.X Annual dues of the Provisional Breeder Members and Breeder Members shall be set by the Executive Council. For the first year of membership only, entering Provisional Breeder Members shall pay five dollars ($5.00) above Breeder Division dues to cover the cost of a copy of “Caring For, Breeding and Showing Your Maine Coon Cat.” Although all owners of a cattery are members, each member cattery is entitled to only one (1) vote. Founding members of MCBFA who are still members shall have honorary free life memberships.
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XX2.X Annual dues of Associate Breeder Members shall be set by the Executive Council.
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XX3.X Breeder Members shall be notified of their dues expiration date via a notice from the Breeder Member Secretary sent by mail, email, and/or a notice in The Scratch Sheet during the anniversary month. A reminder notice may be sent at the discretion of the Breeder Member Secretary after 60 days. Dues not paid within 90 days of the first day of the anniversary month shall cause the member to be dropped from the rolls.
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XX4.X Breeder Member owners of catteries that have been dropped shall refer to Article 1-H for instructions concerning rejoining.
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XX5.X Provisional Breeder Members shall be notified of their dues expiration date via a notice from the Provisional Breeder Member Secretary sent by mail, email, and/or a notice in The Scratch Sheet during the anniversary month. A reminder notice may be sent at the discretion of the Provisional Breeder Member Secretary after 60 days. Dues not paid within 90 days of the first of the anniversary month shall cause the member to be dropped from the rolls.
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B. Fanciers Division
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XX1.X Annual dues of the Fanciers Division shall be set by the Executive Council. After each ten-(10) consecutive years of membership, the following year shall be free.
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XX2.X The Fancier Member Secretary via a notice in The Scratch Sheet shall notify members of their dues expiration. These notices shall appear in two consecutive issues. Dues not paid within 90 days after the first of the anniversary month shall cause the member to be dropped from the rolls.
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It shall be the responsibility of each of the above-named officers to report promptly to the Mailing List Director current members and those dropped.
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C. Any member who is officially suspended by MCBFA remains responsible for all dues during the period of suspension.

Article 3. Meetings

A. Meetings of the Breeder Division shall be held at least four times a year.
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B. The President is solely responsible for scheduling all meetings.
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C. Breeder Division members shall be notified by announcement in The Scratch Sheet and on the MCBFA List of the date and location for all meetings. The person to contact for exact information must be included in the notice.
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D. The quorum for the transaction of business is one officer and five individual Breeder Members.
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E. Any member of the Breeder Division may attend meetings. Only Breeder Members of the Breeder Division may vote at the meeting or on ballots mailed with the Minutes of a meeting. Fancier Members and guests may attend meetings and join in discussions.
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F. Any Breeder member may present a motion by mail if unable to attend the meeting in person. New motions brought up at a meeting shall not be placed on the ballot following that meeting but may be brought up at a subsequent meeting and, if felt to be necessary, may be placed on a ballot following favorable action at the second meeting within a year. Any motion passed at a meeting must be put to a vote of the Breeder Division if a petition to that effect is sent to the President signed by seven Breeder Member catteries within 60 days of the mailing of the Minutes. No proxy votes are allowed.
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G. Robert’s Rules of Order shall be the authority guiding all matters of procedure not otherwise provided for in these By-Laws.

Article 4. Officers

A. The elected officers of this association shall be President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Corresponding Secretary, Breeder Member Secretary, Provisional Breeder Member Secretary, Fancier Member Secretary, Recording Secretary, and Regional Directors. The above-named officers shall be known as the Executive Council. The management of the business and affairs of the Association shall be under the direction of the Executive Council.
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B. Appointed officers shall be the Editor of The Scratch Sheet and the Archivist. There is no set term for these appointed officers. A two-thirds majority vote of the Executive Council shall appoint or remove any appointed officer.
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C. Elected officers shall take office on the first of May for a two-year term.
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D. Vacancies in office shall be filled for the unexpired term by appointment of the President.
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E. No person shall serve as President or Vice-President for more than two consecutive terms.
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F. At least one region shall be established to represent areas outside of the United States and Canada. Regional Directors shall receive votes only from Breeder members residing in that region.
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G. No person may hold more than one office in the Association at the same time.
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H.  Special representatives shall be appointed as deemed necessary by the Executive Council. The Kitten Bank Representative shall be appointed or removed by a two-thirds majority vote of the Executive Council.
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I. Should any officer fail to fulfill the duties of office, a two-thirds majority vote of the Executive Council is required to approve a recall vote. A two-thirds majority of Breeder Member votes received is required to remove an officer.

Article 5. Election of Officers

A. All persons wishing to serve as an officer of the association shall notify the Recording Secretary by February 15th of each election year. No person may file for more than one office.
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B. Candidates for a given office shall be listed on the ballot in alphabetical order by last name. The Recording Secretary shall mail ballots to each Breeder Member in good standing. Members shall have not less than four weeks to return the ballots. Space shall be provided on the ballots for write-in candidates. Any member who so desires may cast write-in votes.
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C. The results, but not " actual vote count, shall be reported to the next meeting. The candidate for a given office, including write-in candidates, who receive the majority of votes cast, is elected. If a write-in candidate wins and refuses to serve, the candidate with the majority of the remaining votes is elected. If no Candidate receives a majority, a run-off will be held between the two candidates receiving the most votes.XX

Article 6. Duties of Officers

A. A The President shall be the executive officer of the Association and shall have the authority to act as its representative and spokesman in all matters not otherwise specifically delegated by the Constitution and By-Laws. The President shall preside at meetings whenever possible and, when unable to attend, shall appoint another officer to preside. The President shall assure that ballot results are available at each meeting. The President shall co-ordinate the activities of the members. The President shall appoint and committee that may be necessary and shall be a member ex-officio of all committees.
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B. The Vice-President shall perform all the duties of the Office of President in the event of the absence or incapacity of the President. if the Office of President becomes vacant, the Vice-President will assume the office and appoint a new Vice-President to the unexpired term. This officer shall maintain updated copies of the Constitution, By-Laws, Standing Rules, MCBFA Codes and any other similar documents of the Association. When changes occur in any of these documents, an updated copy shall be sent to each officer as promptly as possible. The Vice-President shall send ribbons for each ring in every show qualifying for them. The Vice-President shall assist the Editor in determining the top five cats in each category in each association for publication in the Annual Awards issue of The Scratch Sheet.
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C. The Treasurer shall receive all moneys due to the Association, disburse all approved expenses, and have custody of all funds. The Treasurer shall keep an account of receipts and expenses and shall render a Quarterly Financial Report. The fiscal year shall start on May 1. The Treasurer will notify the appropriate Breeder Division Secretary and the Fancier Division Secretary of any failure of moneys to be paid by the payer’s bank for dues. The Treasurer shall deposit all dues payments within two weeks of receipt of the funds and of the financial report of the appropriate Breeder Division Secretary and Fancier Division Secretary. The Treasurer shall obtain a bond in the amount of $25,000. The Treasurer is responsible for filing any required tax forms. The Treasurer shall ascertain that the signature card at the bank carries the signatures of both the Treasurer and the President, or of one other person approved by a two-thirds majority vote of the Executive Council.
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D. The Corresponding Secretary shall receive all correspondence for the Association and answer promptly. Answers to all inquiries shall include such material as specified in the Standing Rules. This officer is authorized to reproduce written material when necessary for distribution.
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E. The Breeder Division Secretaries shall, for their respective Breeder and Provisional Breeder sections, receive and forward all dues to the Treasurer within two weeks of receipt. The Provisional Breeder Member Secretary shall, for new Provisional Breeder Members, receive all completed applications and make certain that agreements are signed. The Breeder Member Secretary shall receive applications from Breeder members in the event of a cattery split. The Provisional Breeder Member Secretary shall request proof of litter registrations from Provisional Breeder Members and notify the Recording Secretary to send out ballots with the minutes of the next meeting when Provisional Breeder Members have met all requirements. The Provisional Breeder Member Secretary shall notify the Provisional Breeder Members of the results of the membership vote, and transfer the files of those members to the Breeder Member Secretary upon their election to full Breeder Member status. The Breeder Division Secretaries shall maintain a file for each Breeder Division member who contains the completed application, signed agreement, and proof of litter registration. The Provisional Breeder Member Secretary shall remind newly elected Breeder members to send for MCBFA information booklets which must be given to all prospective kitten buyers. The Breeder division secretaries shall send dues renewal notices to all Breeder Division members in their respective sections and receive said dues and forward it to the Treasurer. The Breeder Member Secretary shall prepare an updated Breeders List twice each year: one to be sent out in the Fall Scratch Sheet and one with the minutes of a meeting. These officers shall notify the Treasurer of Breeder Division Members’ address changes.
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F. The Fancier Division Secretary send membership cards and a letter giving the check number and the date of expiration of membership to all Fancier Members upon receipt of dues; shall send new members a letter outlining MCBFA policies, particularly those regarding advertising as an MCBFA member; shall provide for inclusion in each issue of The Scratch Sheet a list of Fanciers whose dues are payable within the current and next quarter; shall forward all dues to the Treasurer promptly. This officer shall also keep all records of the Fancier Division, including a cardfile, a ledger book with page for each member, a computer record; and shall promptly notify the Mailing List Director of changes.
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G. The Recording Secretary shall distribute minutes of all meetings of the Association to all Breeder Division members within 30 days of said meeting. This officer shall prepare and send ballots to Breeder Members of the Breeder Division and tabulate and record the votes. The President may appoint two other members of the Breeders Division to help verify the results. All ballots must be retained on file for two years. This officer must immediately notify the Breeder Division Secretaries of the results of membership ballots. This officer shall immediately notify the President of the results of all ballots.
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MCBFA shall require identification of the source of ballots returned to the Recording Secretary on the outer envelope (preferably voting cattery, Breeder Member’s name, and address). Those wishing to maintain anonymity may place the ballot in an inner envelope without identification. The Recording Secretary is prohibited from transferring identifying information from the outer envelope to the inner envelope, with the exception of origin in the case of regional elections. Unidentified ballots will not be counted.
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H. Regional Directors shall be area representatives of MCBFA and shall endeavor to use their influence for the promotion and protection of the breed. They shall be area sources for information about the breed. They shall provide information about obtaining MCBFA ribbons for shows. They shall distribute MCBFA information booklets to members requesting them. They shall be available to assist the President in the solution of problems in their regions. Regional Directors are required to hold a Regional Meeting once per quarter.
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I. Appointed Officers
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XX1.X The Editor shall gather news, letters, or other material that is of interest to owners of Maine Coon cats; shall attempt to secure permission to reprint interesting articles about Maine Coon cats that appear in other publications; and shall prepare and assemble for each quarter the newsletter, The Scratch Sheet. Each issue shall contain a list of officers with addresses, information on how to join MCBFA, membership renewal notices. Once each year a list of Breeder Members shall be contained in The Scratch Sheet. The Editor is authorized to sell advertising in the newsletter as specified in the Standing Rules.
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XX2.X The Archivist is responsible for the safe housing, organization, and cataloguing of materials and/or memorabilia pertaining to the history of the Maine Coon cat. The Archivist shall receive any materials donated to the Archives, and shall determine their value to the collection. Such materials may include pedigrees, pictures, published clippings and articles, records of awards, books and pamphlets about the breed. The Archives shall include all official MCBFA records: the Scratch Sheet, meeting minutes, etc. Non-confidential materials in the collection may be copied and made available to MCBFA members on request.

Article 7. Protection of the Breed

A.
All Breeder Division Members are required to sign an agreement to abide by the constitution and By-Laws and all MCBFA Codes, and to sign and agree to be bound by to Code of Ethics as amended.
After amendments to the Code of Ethics are approved, each member in the Breeder Divisions shall be sent the amended Code of Ethics for signature by the members and returned to the appropriate Breeder Division Secretary. If no signed Code of Ethics is on file for a member 60 days after both approval of the amendment is announced at a meeting and notice is published in at least one issue of The Scratch Sheet, the respective Secretary shall send a notice of deficiency, and, if the file is not complete within 90 days after the meeting, the member shall be dropped from the rolls. If a Breeder Member cattery that has been dropped wishes to rejoin, the owners must reapply for membership, as provided in Article 2, Section A 4.
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B. Ethics Committee. MCBFA has an obligation to protect the breed as well as potential buyers and breeders of the Maine Coon Cat. Every two years, after the election of officers, the President shall appoint a Chairperson, who must be approved by the Executive Council by 2/3 majority vote. The President shall be an ex officio member of the Committee. The Chairperson will select five full Breeder Members and three alternates. All members must have at least five years experience as full Breeder Member and have the ability to work as a team. The name of the Chairperson  shall be published in the minutes of the next meeting and shall be listed as an Appointed Officer in each issue of The Scratch Sheet.
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C. Disqualification's. An alternate shall replace any Committee member who is either a complainant or the subject of a complaint. Any Committee member who cannot render an impartial decision due to circumstances of a pending complaint must be disqualified by the Chairperson, and shall be replaced by one of the alternates.
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D. Substance of a Complaint. All formal complaints must be filed in good faith and not for the purpose of harassment, or embarrassment, or personal animosity. Proper grounds for a complaint shall be conduct, which constitutes either:
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XX1.X A violation of the spirit or letter of the Code of Ethics,
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XX2.X Any other conduct unbecoming a Breeder
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MCBFA will not be involved in contractual disputes, which are to be referred to the appropriate court.
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Prior to the activation of the Committee, the Chairperson will request that the Regional Director (s) of parties involved, or another MCBFA officer, attempt to resolve the complaint in a less formal manner.. If these officers cannot achieve a resolution, the complaint shall be returned to the Chairperson for processing by the Committee.
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E. Filing Complaints. Review of a formal complaint shall be initiated upon receipt by the Chairperson, of a written complaint.
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The written complaint shall be signed by the complainant and shall consist of the following:
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XX1.X A brief factual statement of the conduct under complaint.
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XX2.X Names, addresses and telephone numbers of all persons with relevant knowledge of the facts:
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XX3.X A list of  relevant evidence documents or photographs that support the allegations of the complaint.
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XX4.X Any other information material to the substance of the complaint.
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The complainant may withdraw the complaint at any time before final resolution upon written notice to the Chairperson.
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F. Confidentiality Requirement: The complainant and defending party, as well as any member providing evidence in the case,  must keep all complaints in strict confidence. Disclosure to anyone not on the Committee of the pendency or subject of a formal complaint prior to final resolution by the Executive Council shall result in dismissal of the Complaint.
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G. Notice and Reply. Within ten (10) days of receipt of a formal complaint, the Chairperson shall send one copy to the defending party, by certified mail, return receipt requested. If the certified envelope is refused or unclaimed by the defending party, it shall forthwith be re-mailed by the Chairperson by regular mail. The defending party shall respond within 30 days of receipt of the certified mail or of the date of the re-mailing.
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The  written reply shall consist of the following:
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XX1. Counter statement of the facts,
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XX2. Identification of persons with relevant knowledge of the facts,
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XX3. A copy of any relevant evidence, documents or photographs which defeat the allegations of the complainant;
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XX4. Any other information material to the substance of the complaint.
The defending party must keep in strict confidence all matters pertaining to the complaint.
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H. Procedure for Review. Each case shall be assigned a number by the Chairperson. Only the Chairperson and the Committee members will know the identities of the parties involved. This procedure is necessary for the confidential investigation process.
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Within ten (10) days of receipt of the reply, or upon expiration of the reply period, the Chairperson shall forward a copy of the formal complaint and reply, if any, to the sitting Committee members, and shall schedule a time for a discussion with all Committee members in as expeditious a manner as possible. The discussion may be conducted in person, by phone, or by electronic means.
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Committee members shall keep confidential to the extent possible the pendency and substance of complaints and the identities of the parties involved.
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The Provisional Breeder member Secretary shall be notified when a complaint is filed against a Provisional Breeder member solely for the purpose of assuring that such member does not appear on a ballot for advancement until after the matter is resolved. The nature of the complaint shall not, however, be revealed to the Provisional Breeder member Secretary.
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The Chairperson and Committee members shall review the record of the investigation and shall decide by a majority vote to recommend to Executive Council one of the following courses of action:
XX1. Dismissal of the complaint,
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XX2. Private censure of the defending party,
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XX3. Public censure of the defending party,
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XX4. Suspension of MCBFA membership for a period to be determined by the Committee, with revocation of Breeder or Provisional status,
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XX5. Permanent expulsion from MCBFA.
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I. Review by the Executive Council. The Executive Council shall receive the written recommendation of the Committee, together with the complete summary of the report. This document will list the parties involved by letter only. Only the Chairperson shall have the key to the identities of the involved parties, assuring a neutral approach, based on facts. Within twenty-one (21) days, the Executive Council shall by a two-thirds majority vote adopt one of the following courses of action:
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XX1. Approval and ratification of the Committee's recommended action, or
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XX2. Any other course of action listed in Section H, 1-5, above.
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Failure of the Executive Council to agree by a 2/3 vote shall result in automatic ratification of the Committees recommendation.
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J. Resolution. The President shall, in writing, notify the complainant and the defending party of the final decision.
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K. Without limiting other bases for expulsion from MCBFA, a member against whom a court of law judgment has been rendered in a case involving any type of animal abuse or cruelty may be expelled from membership by a majority vote of the Executive Council, after the member is provided the opportunity to submit an explanation.
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L. Any member of MCBFA who has 1) been suspended or expelled from, or 2) has been denied the services of one of the major registration associations shall, be suspended or expelled from MCBFA, in conformity with the actions of the registering association, retroactive to the date of discipline by the registering association.
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M. The names of any members expelled from MCBFA, receiving suspension, or public censure shall be listed in each issue of the Scratch Sheet with the effective dates included.
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Article 8. Awards

A. The Maine Coon Cat and Fanciers Association, Inc. will donate the following ribbons in every ring at any cat show held by any recognized cat association. Any Maine Coon in the show is eligible for the appropriate ribbons (see Standing Rules for early requirements): Best Maine Coon Cat, Best Maine Coon Kitten, and Best Maine Coon Alter.
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B. Ribbons for any Breeder Division may request a show or Fancier Member or any show official.
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C. Show officials shall be requested to list the Maine Coon Breeders and Fancier Association, Inc., as the donor does of the ribbons in the show catalog.
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D. MCBFA shall list the top 5 cats, kittens, and alters as score by each of the cat registering associations.
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E. The Vice President shall notify the newsletter Editor of the top 5 Maine Coons in each association.
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F. The Editor shall publish congratulations to the regional and national winners named in each category.
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Article 9. Advertising

A. Only Breeder and Associate Members of the Breeder Division may advertise that they are MCBFA Breeder Members in magazines, show catalogs, business cards, cat shows, and any other place or publication.
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B. Provisional Members of the Breeder Division and Fancier Members shall not use the name or the abbreviation of MCBFA in any advertising or on their business cards/stationery. They shall not state in any place or publication that they are MCBFA members. Violations shall result in a six-month extension of provisional status.
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C. If any member or other interested party discovers an Instance of incorrect advertising, the appropriate Breeder Division Secretary will be notified and sent a copy of the false advertisement. The Secretaries shall verify lack of membership and then notify the person making the false claims that they are to cease immediately.
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D. If the false membership claim continues, the appropriate Breeder Division Secretary will officially notify the publication carrying the ad that the membership claim is false and must be discontinued.
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E. If the false claim continues to be made in show catalogs, etc., the MCBFA Membership shall be notified of the false claim in the minutes /newsletter.
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F. Advertising, written or oral, shall be factual and not misleading, shall be in conformity with federal, state or local consumer protection laws and may contain price quotations at the breeder members' discretion. When referencing MCBFA, an individual breeder member, group of individual breeder members or a "list", must limit Internet statements to identifying themselves as MCBFA breeders, if applicable, and provide a link to the official MCBFA website.

Article 10. Amendments

A. These By-Laws may be amended by a majority vote of Breeder Member ballots received by the Recording Secretary. Suggested admendments may be proposed in any of the following ways: 
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XX1. By petition sent to the President bearing the signatures of seven Breeder Member catteries.
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XX2. By unanimous vote of the Breeder Members attending the second meeting at which the proposal is discussed.
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XX3. By a two-thirds vote of the Executive Council.
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B. The source of all proposed amendments shall be specified on the ballots. Ballots for proposed amendments shall be sent out with the minutes of next meeting. Members shall be given not less than four weeks to return the ballot. The actual vote count will be published in the minutes of the next meeting. Unless otherwise stated in the specific amendment, all amendments shall take effect the date of the meeting at which the results of the voting were announced.
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