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

  • Latest Issue 3 1 31

    Read More
  • Walking In The Smokies stall deadline approaching

    The Walking In The Smokies Horse Show, scheduled for April 8-10, 2021, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee is preparing for their first annual show and would like to send a reminder to anyone needing stalls that the deadline is March 15. Please contact Lexi Stinnett at 828-550-8520 to reserve stalls on the show grounds. Read More
  • Trainers' Show announces judges

    The Walking Horse Trainers’ Association National Trainers’ Show will be held at Calsonic Arena in Shelbyville, Tenn. March 18-20, 2021. Judges for the three-day event will be Wayne Dean, Newton Parks and Johnny Puckett. Read More
  • USDA prepares for 2021 show season

    The USDA recently conducted their virtual HIO training course for the 2021 show season. The USDA and industry recently received the final report from the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) and some of the recommendations in that report are communicated in the new processes the USDA will implement in 2021... Read More
  • WHOA hosts virtual awards ceremony

    On Saturday. February 20th, the Walking Horse Owners’ Association (WHOA) held their National High Point awards for 2020 on their WHOA Facebook page with winners who chose to be zooming in to accept their awards... Read More
  • WHOA to host virtual awards ceremony on February 20

    The Walking Horse Owners’ Association (WHOA) will recognize their award winners from the 2020 show season during a virtual awards ceremony on Saturday, February 20, 2021. The show will be broadcast live on WHOA’s Facebook page beginning at 6 pm central time. Read More
  • FAST Spring Showcase announces judging panel

    The FAST Spring Showcase is pleased to announce that John Fikes, Newton Parks and Sam Sorrell will judge this years’ two-day event. The show will be held at Calsonic Arena in Shelbyville, Tenn. April 16-17, 2021... Read More
  • Obituary – Kimberly Woods

    Kimberly Lynn Woods, age 47 departed this life on Sunday, February 14, 2021 at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky... Read More
  • WHAA annual barn party rescheduled due to inclement weather

    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
  • Birth Announcement – William Jackson Bauer

    Dr. & Mrs. Will  Bauer of Gainesville, Georgia welcomed their first child, William Jackson Bauer, on December 4, 2020. Jack weighed 7 pounds, 2 ounces at birth... Read More