Skip to content

HSUS Knows its Donors Mistakenly Think They’re Funding Pet Shelters



Despite polling to the contrary, the Humane Society of the United States has said on multiple occasions to the media that its donors know what they’re funding. In December 2013, for one instance of many, HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle told the media that “I’ll say that such claims (specifically that there is confusion between The HSUS, and the ASPCA on the one hand, and local shelters on the other) is [sic] a contrivance.” In short—in spite of the overwhelming evidence that HSUS donors and the public are confused and think that money given to HSUS will largely fund animal shelters, HSUS has defiantly issued denial after denial and refused to take responsibility for its clearly deceptive advertising.

Guess what? HSUS knows its donors are confused—and has for years. Newly surfaced internal polling data conducted by HSUS in 2011 proves the point that we have been making all along: HSUS donors think they’re funding animal shelters. They’re not.

The Humane Society of the United States recently conducted a survey in order to determine what its donors’ expectations are for how their contributions are being spent. Unsurprisingly, given HSUS’s advertising full of cats and dogs—with no disclaimer that HSUS doesn’t run any pet shelters—about two-thirds of HSUS donors believe that their contributions will go towards funding “local animal shelters for unwanted, injured or stray animals.” According to the polling, 65% of “high-level” donors and 71% of “non-high level” donors thought that HSUS supported local animal shelters with their donations. (The document comes from public court filings.)

Unfortunately for HSUS donors, these expectations are clearly not being met, as HSUS only spends 1% of its budget on providing grants for local pet shelters.

Swindled donors watch HSUS TV ads or receive HSUS direct mail and believe that their offering will provide funding to help save and find homes for pets. HSUS is willing to go to great lengths to keep this myth alive, even if it means lying before Congress, where Wayne Pacelle recently falsely asserted to a U.S. Senate subcommittee that there was “explicit language” in HSUS ads saying “that we’re not giving the money to animal shelters.”

HSUS’s poll confirms what we have been saying all along. HSUS donors are confused, and it’s not a “contrivance.” They believe that their money is supporting an umbrella organization for local animal shelters throughout the country.

It probably wouldn’t be wise to hold your breath waiting for HSUS to dispel this confusion explicitly in all of its fundraising materials. HSUS stands to lose millions. It is apparent that more work needs to be done from grassroots individuals and campaigns like ours in order to show misled HSUS donors that their donations would be better off at the local level—and with an ethical group.

More Stories

  • Obituary – Eddie McCrary

    Eddie E. McCrary, age 72, of Lebanon passed away on Wednesday, January 22, 2020 at his residence. He is preceded in death by parents, Otho and Essie McCrary. He is survived by wife of 38 years, Judy Newman McCrary... Read More
  • USDA to host open session for industry

    On February 8, 2020 at the Blue Ribbon Circle Club in Shelbyville Tenn., USDA will host a public informational session to discuss 2019 show season compliance statistics and review the inspection process. The open session will be from 2PM – 4PM. All members of the public are welcome... Read More
  • ‘FAST’ thinking for the future

    FAST, a group within the walking horse industry behind much of the fundraising efforts used to support the walking horse industry, is gearing up for its inaugural strategic planning session, which will take place Saturday, Feb. 8 in Shelbyville, Tennessee... Read More
  • Obituary – Gary Hollin

    Gary Lee Hollin, 69, of Danielsville, passed away on Thursday, January 16, 2020. Born in Manchester, Kentucky, he was the son of the late Roy Verdon Hollin and Pauline Sams Hollin. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister, Phyllis Lunsford... Read More
  • Obituary – Betty Tisher

    Betty Davis Tisher, 89, resident of Columbia, died Tuesday January 14, 2020 at Maury Regional Medical Center. Funeral services will be conducted Thursday at 2:00 P.M. at Pleasant Heights Baptist Church with Dr. Robert Jody Gamble and Brother Bob Vasser officiating. Burial will follow in Polk Memorial Gardens... Read More
  • Obituary – James Allen May

    James “Allen” May, 66, husband to Becky Cummins May, entered into his eternal rest Friday morning, January 10, 2020 at his business in Augusta, Georgia. Funeral services to celebrate his life will be held at 2:00 P.M. Tuesday afternoon, January 14, 2020 at InMotion Church in Thomson, Georgia with Pastor Scott Franklin officiating. Read More
  • WHOA announces Board of Directors Election Results

    The Walking Horse Owners’ Association is proud to announce the following candidates were elected to the WHOA Board of Directors by the WHOA Membership... Read More
  • Obituary – Kenneth Callicutt

    On Wednesday, January 8, 2020 with his family by his side, Kenneth Landon Callicutt went home to be with the Lord... Read More
  • Obituary – Paul Bryan, Jr.

    Funeral services for Paul Wilson Bryan, Jr., 82, will be held at Trinity Anglican Church, Thomasville, GA at 11:00 am on Thursday, January 9. Following the service, the family will host visitors at a reception at Trinity Anglican Church... Read More
  • WHAA hosts barn party and auction

    There will be a lot of great items to auction as well as breeding fees to some of the top stallions in the industry and training fees for many of the top trainers. Everyone is encouraged to bring your young horses to preview for the upcoming show season. Read More