Rules, Policies and Protocols

Constitution 

AFA Constitution download here (29th August 2004, document reformatted July 2016)Rules August 2016

Rules

This page contains the current rules and policies of the AFA - which also includes the on trial rules. In addition you can also find AFA protocols and penalty information.

Below is a link to the Rules and Policies of the AFA.

For any queries regarding any of the rules, contact us through this website or contact your regional representitive.

 

 Rules Jan 2017 pdf

Rules and Polices March 2017 download here

 

RULE  NOTIFICATIONS

 

Protocol for dealing with Dog Discipline Incidents: (12-November-2007)

Guidance Notes – Protocol for dealing with Dog Discipline Incidents.

These notes have been developed as a guide to the process to be followed by the AFA in dealing with any matter involving a reported incident that involves dog behaviour. They should act as guidance to both those involved in any investigation of reports as well as to members whose dog may be part of the investigation process.

Dog incidents are dealt with under the AFA’s Rules and Policies and in particular the AFA Policy on Dog Aggression (copy available under New Policies on AFA Web).

AFA can institute action to investigate any incident as a result of:

  • Judges or other Officials Report on any incident that took place at a Competition, Demonstration or other AFA accredited activity. Such reports are normally related to aggression or suspected aggression incidents and where a “Black Card” has been issued the dog in question is suspended from the date of the incident until the Committee concludes its investigation and advises member of outcome.

  • Witness Reports of incidents they observed, which may or may not have been seen by a Judge or AFA Official. In these circumstances if the incident did not involve issue of a “Black Card” but does involve aggression or suspected aggression the Committee MAY decide to notify the member that the dog is suspended until the investigation is completed.

  • The Supervisory Judges reporting to the Committee of repeated instances of interference by a dog leading to an assessment that the dog may be becoming a danger to other dogs.

PROCESS

The AFA will, upon receipt of such Reports, appoint a Sub Committee of three Committee Members to investigate and report on incident.

The Sub Committee will, early in the investigation process (and if not already available), invite the Member to submit, by a nominated date, any statement or comment they wish to make about the circumstances of the incident for consideration. The Sub Committee can also call for other Witness Statements if it considers such appropriate or necessary to ensure full and fair analysis of incident and the reported dogs behaviour. Upon request the Sub Committee will make available Judges Reports or Witness Statements to the member whose dog is under investigation but will not release these documents to other than that member. The member will be requested to treat all such Reports as CONFIDENTIAL and not for public release.

The Sub Committee will consider all available evidence and will make best endeavours to submit its recommendation regarding any action to the Committee within 21 days of its establishment.

The Sub Committee may recommend that the incident be dismissed without any action or may recommend action ranging from:

  • Issue of warning that any further incidents may involve the suspension   of the dog and normally will also include the requirement for the member to seek advice from Club instructors on focus retraining;

  • issue of warning and the placement of the dog on a “suspended sentence” – normally between a 3 months minimum and 12 months maximum period where IF the dog repeats the aggressive behaviour within this period the actual suspension of the dog from AFA activities is enforced. (Again this action normally involves the requirement for the owner to undertake appropriate retraining of dog focus;

  • Suspension of the dog from all AFA activities (including competition racing, demonstrations, training days, lunchtime training in the ring) for a set period with the requirement for the owner to seek advice on appropriate behaviour retraining. Suspensions will normally be for a period of between 3 months and 12 months and the owner will need to demonstrate successful behaviour retraining prior to dog being readmitted to AFA activities;

  • permanent exclusion of the dog from AFA activities. This action will normally be related to a repeat offence of aggressive behaviour.

The Sub Committees recommendation will be promptly considered by the Committee, either via email or at the next committee meeting. Once the Committee has made the decision to either accept of vary the Sub Committee recommendation the Secretary will notify the member of the decision.

RIGHT OF APPEAL

The member may appeal the decision within 14 days of the date of service of notice of the decision. Any appeal should focus on new evidence.

Appeals will be processed by the Committee at the next scheduled Committee meeting.

The Committee will normally appoint a Appeals Panel to consider the Appeal and make recommendation thereon to the Committee. The decision of the Committee is final. Pending outcome of the appeals process any penalty impose by the Committee in its original advice continues to apply.

A downloadable copy of the AFA Black Card Penalty Protocol is shown below and available here.

Black Card Penalty Protocol

Protocol for dealing with Member Discipline Incidents - (12-November-2007)

Guidance Notes – Protocol for dealing with Member Discipline Incidents. 

These notes have been developed as a guide to the process to be followed by the AFA in dealing with any matter involving a reported incident that involves member behaviour. They should act as guidance to both those involved in any investigation of reports as well as to members who may be part of the investigation process.

Member discipline incidents are dealt with under the AFA’s Constitution and in particular Clauses 14 and 15 of the Constitution (copy available under Rules and Policies sub heading on AFA Web).

AFA can institute action to investigate any member behaviour incident as a result of:

  • Judges or other Officials Report on any incident that took place at a Competition, Demonstration or other AFA accredited activity. Such reports are normally related to matters such as unsportsmanlike behaviour including abuse of a Judge, Official, spectator or another competitor. They can also include claimed misconduct (including abuse or severe disciplining of a dog, use of foul language, demonstration of dissatisfaction with a Judge’s or Official’s decision, wilful violation of the Rules, deliberately delaying the restart of a race or any behaviour assessed as likely to leave a spectator or exhibitor with an unfavourable opinion of the sport).

  • Witness Reports of similar behaviour incidents they observed, which may or may not have been seen by a Judge or AFA Official.

  • Breach of AFA Constitution.

PROCESS

The AFA Committee will, upon receipt of any such Reports, consider whether in its opinion, based on the available evidence, the member has a “case to answer” and if so will appoint a Sub Committee of at least three Committee Members to investigate and report on the incident.

The Sub Committee will, early in the investigation process (and if not already available), invite the member to submit, by a nominated date, any statement or comment they wish to make about the circumstances of the incident for consideration. The Sub Committee can also call for other Witness Statements if it considers such appropriate or necessary to ensure full and fair analysis of incident. Upon request the Sub Committee will make available Judges Reports or Witness Statements to the member under investigation but will not release these documents to other then that member. The member will be requested to treat all such Reports as CONFIDENTIAL and not for public release.

The Sub Committee will consider all available evidence and will make best endeavours to submit its recommendation regarding any action to the Committee within 21 days of its establishment.

The Sub Committee may recommend that the incident be dismissed without any action or may recommend that action be taken against the member.

The Committee will receive the Report and will consider the recommendation/s. Action can range from:

  • issue of a reprimand to the member;

  • suspension of the member but with the actual suspension period suspended ( effectively placing the Member on probation with any repeat of unsatisfactory behaviour during the probation period resulting in the suspension penalty being actually applied from the date of the new breech);

  • suspension of the member for a defined period (normally between 3 and 12 months);

  • expulsion of the member from the AFA.

Once the Committee makes a decision on penalty the Secretary will inform the member of the decision and on the right to make any further submission they think appropriate and/or to address the Committee at a Meeting scheduled for between 14 and 28 days after the member has been informed of the decision. The member has the right to decide not to respond or to respond to this invitation.

The Committee will meet on the appointed date and will consider any further submissions or input from member. The Committee will then either confirm or amend its original decision as to penalty. The Secretary will notify the member of the decision within 7 days and also advise the member of their right of appeal under Clause 15 of the Constitution..

The member has 7 days after the Secretary’s notice to lodge any appeal. Where no appeal is lodged the penalty applies effective from that date.

RIGHT OF APPEAL

Where the member elects to appeal the Committee will convene a General Meeting of the AFA within 21 days, or as soon as possible after that date, to hear the appeal and either confirm or revoke the Committee decision. ( Note – there is no power stated in the Constitution for the members to do other than confirm or revoke the Committee decision - the meeting cannot substitute an alternative penalty). The Committee and the member have the right to submit documents and make submission to the Meeting. Members will vote by secret ballot to confirm or revoke the decision of the Committee. 

Any resolution requires a 75% margin in order to be passed. Any confirmed penalty applies from the date of the General Meeting.

Protocol for dealing with Dog Incident Appeals - (12-November-2007)

Aggressive Dog Incidents –Protocol for Appeals Process.

The process outlined below was adopted by the Committee at its Meeting on Monday the 5th November 2007 as the basis of dealing with Appeals under the Aggressive Dogs Policy.

The AFA Aggressive Dogs Policy states:

“Upon receipt of the Sub-Committee’s report the AFA Committee will at its next meeting make a determination and subsequently notify the Member. The Member may lodge an appeal within 14 days of the date of service of the AFA Committee’s decision. Any appeal should focus on new evidence or facts not taken into account by the AFA.  Appeals will be dealt with by the AFA Committee at its next scheduled meeting and the Member will be notified of the outcome within 7 days of that meeting.” 

Process where an appeal is made:

The Policy states the AFA Committee must “deal with the matter at its next Committee Meeting”. To “deal with” does not mean that the Committee itself must adjudicate on the appeal at the next Meeting. Indeed under the principles of Natural Justice the appeal should best be heard by a panel who had no involved in the incident, original investigation or in the resultant decision re penalty. The Panel does not need to be drawn totally from the Committee.

Taking all factors into account the following Appeal process will be followed:

AFA Committee upon receipt of an Appeal Notice will at its next Meeting establish an Appeal Panel to hear the Appeal. Panel to consist of a minimum of 3 and maximum of 5 AFA members who have not had involvement in the incident, its investigation or the decision of the Committee to impose the penalty. At least one member of the Panel should preferably be from the AFA Committee. The Committee also needs to appoint a Chairperson of the Panel. The Panel needs to be briefed on process to be followed – an appeal does not involve a total rehearing of all evidence. It is up to the appellant to put forward the grounds and arguments in support of the view that the original decision was flawed in some way. The AFA policy indicates that the appeal should focus on new evidence or facts not taken into account in the original decision.

The Committee has determined that the appellant and the Panel members will each be supplied with an identical Casebook of Evidence which will include all Reports and Witness Statements regarding the dog incident and any other relevant correspondence, including details of any history of past incidents involving the dog in question.

The casebook would include:

  • Copy of AFA Policy on Aggressive Dogs;

  • Copy of Dog Incident Protocol;

  • Copy of Appeal Process Protocol;

  • Judges and /or AFA Reps Report and all Witness Statements or submissions regarding the incident;

  • Dog Incident Sub Committee Report to AFA;

  • Extract from AFA Committee Meeting Minutes re the matter;

  • Letter of Advice to Member;

  • Any response from Member;

  • Letter of Notice of Appeal received from Member.

The Appeal Panel determines a date and time for the appeal which should allow at least 14 days notice of hearing date (which will be by phone hook up) .The appellant needs to receive the Casebook of Evidence and be consulted as to whether the proposed date is suitable to him and whether he intends to “attend” the Appeal. Appellant should be given the opportunity to lodge any further Statement in support of the appeal by a date at least 7 days before the Appeal hearing. This comes to the AFA Secretary who distributes to Panel.

The Appeals Panel then hears the appeal. There will be an AFA representative present who would act as Secretary to the Panel and who can provide technical advice to the Panel.. The AFA representative will take no part in the adjudication process of the Panel. The Appeals Panel may either dismiss the appeal (and uphold the original decision) or uphold the appeal and dismiss the original decision. The Appeal Panel also has the right to recommend the imposition of an alternative penalty to that originally imposed. The panel may recommend either a higher or lower penalty.

The Panels recommendation would then come to the next scheduled AFA Committee Meeting for endorsement and notice to appellant.

The Committee will consider the Panels recommendation and come to a final decision that will be communicated to the member.