“The “Humane Society” of the United States spends almost 90 times more on fundraising than it spends on pet-shelter grants.”
By Dell Hill
Hat Tip - Jaz McKay
I have a great fondness for pets. As a child growing up with my pet snapping turtle, felines that always seemed to find my bed a perfect place to sleep, and I’ll never forget my first puppy - a handsome and extremely protective companion who barely left my side for a dozen years.
One of the charities that I’ve always supported is the work done by the local humane society. They work constantly and tirelessly to treat injured animals and seek good homes for all stray critters. Over the years, I’ve adopted two dogs from the local humane society and both responded with years and years of unquestioned affection.
I wish I had some really good news to pass along about the funding for humane societies, but I don’t. This is a report about how one national organization is passing itself off as a funding source for local humane societies and they’re NOT.
Nov 03 2011
The Humane Society of the United States likes to claim that it’s the nation’s biggest advocate for shelters—despite donating just one percent of its budget to these groups to help shelter pets. We’ve now released two editions of our “Not Your Local Humane Society” report, and each time the news media went to local shelters to ask them for their opinion.
So what have shelters had to say about HSUS?
“We haven't seen any money from the HSUS."
--Teresa Johnson, PALS [Prevent-a-litter Program] president, in the North Platte Telegraph
"We are not in any way associated with HSUS or PETA. I think sometimes, people look at humane societies as being all one, and we're not at all. Nobody is paid. We're all volunteers. We also don't pay any memberships to national organizations. When Hurricane Katrina struck, we sent $500 down there in emergency money, but it didn't go to HSUS. Other than that, I don't know of any donations that have gone anywhere other than in and around North Platte."
--Jo Mayber, Paws-itive Partners Humane Society secretary, in the North Platte Telegraph
“Not one penny. We receive nothing from them, and the amount of money they get nationally and don’t share with needy shelters like ours is a shame.”
--Roseann Trezza, Executive Director of the Associated Humane Societies (on News 12 New Jersey)
“It's a good source of confusion for a lot of our donors. We have had issues with people who would intend to name us in their will, but actually name the Humane Society of the United States.”
--Amanda Welby, Seattle Humane Society (on MyFoxSpokane)
“In my experience, in the last 15 years, it's been nothing, in this area, that I know of. We got without food here and we couldn't find a place for it, so I contacted the national humane society, to ask them for help, to help us find some or donate some food for the animals. They wouldn't even give me the time of day, hardly. In fact, they were rude about it, in the office. I think that is tugging at people's hearts, showing those animals and also to receive money nationwide. They need to send it directly to us or to the other shelters.”
--Del Nesmith, Director, Humane Society of Odessa (on News9 Texas)
“There is no humane society in the sky; there is no big brother, you are your own entity, all of us are volunteers. We operate with donations and fundraisers and that’s where our money comes from.”
--Shirley Jarmon, Humane Society of Faulkner County (on KARK Arkansas)
And the list of similar comments continues. You can read it all by clicking right here.
So what - if anything - can be done about this?
HSUS is a private organization, but thankfully its tax returns are required to be public. They give us a small glimpse into America’s most deceptive animal rights group. And we’ve just gotten a copy of HSUS’s latest tax return, covering 2010. (Past returns are in our Document Library.)
HSUS’s tax returns have served as a backbone for startling discoveries, such as that the organization gives less than one percent of its budget to pet shelters (the real humane societies); that HSUS puts more money into lobbying than it does pet-shelter grants; and that HSUS even contributes more to its pension plan than it gives to needy shelters.
So how did HSUS fare in 2010? Veteran readers won’t be surprised. Here are some low-lights:
- HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle’s total compensation package was $287,786, up roughly 7 percent from the previous year.
- HSUS stuffed $2.6 million into its pension plan, bringing the total since Pacelle took over to about $14 million.
- HSUS spent $3.6 million on lobbying. (If you see an HSUS ad showing an abused and malnourished lobbyist, let us know.)
- HSUS had 636 employees, including 29 who earned more than $100,000.
- SUS’s contribution/grant revenue increased by $34 million. This was boosted by a $12-million increase in noncash contributions (e.g. free ads) and a $11.7 million grant from a single donor.
- HSUS’s “All Animals” magazine had a circulation of about 450,000. That’s a good estimate of HSUS’s true membership size (versus the 11 million they like to bandy about when they are on Capitol Hill), since the magazine is included with a $25 membership.
- HSUS’s “Kind News” magazine reached 644,000 kindergarten to 6th grade students. (Targeting kids seems right out of PETA’s playbook.)
- HSUS spent a whopping $47 million on fundraising-related costs, or about 37 percent of HSUS budget.
- HSUS’s pet-shelter grants totaled just $528,676, or 0.418 percent of HSUS’s budget.
Read those last two bullet points again: The “Humane Society” of the United States spends almost 90 times more on fundraising than it spends on pet-shelter grants. If that doesn’t show you the real priorities of this “factory fundraising” operation, nothing will.
In 2009, four-fifths of one percent of HSUS’s budget went to pet-shelter grants; this year is about half of that. It’s even worse than 2008. It may even be the lowest percentage ever.
But despite the $528,676 of good that HSUS did, there’s a long way to go for HSUS to earn the “humane society” in its name.
Memo to Wayne Pacelle: It’s time to stop feeding lobbyists and factory fundraising machines at the expense of needy pets.”
This blog strongly encourages you to support the work done by your LOCAL humane society. Make your donations count by contributing directly to them - not some national organization with hundreds of extremely high-paid employees who do little or nothing for animals.