Today, HumaneWatch.org, a project of the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom, launched a week-long ad campaign in Oklahoma warning residents about the deceptive fundraising practices of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Despite advertising and fundraising in Oklahoma, in 2012 (the most recent year for which data is available) HSUS made only three grants to Oklahoma animal care organizations, totaling just $6,893 – out of a $120 million budget. Nationally, just one percent of HSUS’s budget went to local pet shelters.
The commercial is available here.
The commercial begins, “Attention: Consumer protection alert!” and then warns viewers, “If you’ve seen [a recent HSUS] ad or donated to the Humane Society of the United States, you should know that only one penny of every dollar donated goes to local pet shelters. Be aware that the American Institute of Philanthropy gives the Humane Society of the United States a C- rating.”
The commercial then asks viewers, “Did you intend to help local pet shelters?” before concluding, “If you gave to HSUS and thought your donation would help shelters in Oklahoma, call the attorney general’s office.”
The commercial comes on the heels of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt announcing last month that he is concerned that many Oklahomans believe their donations are going to benefit local organizations, when in fact they are being distributed outside the state:
I think there are many [people] across the State of Oklahoma when they give to the Humane Society they think it’s going to local concerns. They believe they are actually benefitting an organization that helps make sure animals are taken care of locally and at the state level. And there’s a concern that that is not happening.
Pruitt’s concerns are also substantiated by a recent poll of 1,050 self-identified HSUS donors in which 87 percent said they were unaware that HSUS gives a shocking one percent of its annual budget to local pet shelters. When informed of this sad reality, a full 83 percent of HSUS’s own donors polled agreed the group “misleads people into thinking that it supports local humane societies and pet shelters,” and 59 percent were less likely to support the group going forward.
“Animal-loving Oklahomans are being harmed by HSUS’s deceptive fundraising,” said Will Coggin, senior research analyst at the Center for Consumer Freedom. “It’s time for this so-called ‘Humane Society’ to be held accountable for its manipulative and cynical scheme.”