HumaneWatch.org, a project of the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), released its fourth annual report documenting the total contributions by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to local pet shelters. The results: In 2012, HSUS spent a total of $120 million, but only 1 percent of that went to supporting local sheltering organizations nationwide.
The full report, "Not Your Local Humane Society," is available online, and includes an accounting of all grants to local pet shelters made by HSUS during the years 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. All data is drawn directly from HSUS's Form 990 tax returns filed annually with the IRS.
The report comes in the wake of a September 2013 poll of 1,050 self-identified HSUS donors in which 87 percent said they were unaware that HSUS gives such a miniscule portion of its annual budget to local pet shelters. When informed of this, a full 83 percent of HSUS's own donors 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.
"The Humane Society of the United States is making money off of manipulating Americans," said Will Coggin, CCF's senior research analyst. "HSUS rakes in millions during the holiday season from America's animal lovers who believe their donations will go to pet shelters near them. Because HSUS siphons so much money out of local communities, there's less to go around for local, hands-on groups that save homeless pets."
Instead of giving any substantial funds to local shelters, in 2012 HSUS spending went toward fundraising expenses, campaigns against animal agriculture, lawyers, lobbyists and high salaries for top executives, Coggin said.