Oklahoma to Investigate HSUS

[UPDATE: On Mar. 12, AG Pruitt released a consumer alert regarding national animal groups such as HSUS.]

Big news out of the Sooner State: Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt announced yesterday that his office will investigate the fundraising of the Humane Society of the United States. Speaking to the state farm bureau, Pruitt said:

“I think there are many 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 benefiting 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. As those dollars go nationally, there is a concern, perhaps, that they’re not coming back.”

That’s absolutely true. Our polling has found that most of the public—and even HSUS donors—think that money given to HSUS largely helps shelter pets. You know—the cats and dogs that HSUS liberally stuffs its fundraising appeals with.

Instead, only 1 percent of HSUS’s budget is given to local shelters.

The case seems airtight. You have the ads with dogs and cats that give off the impression that HSUS is all about rescues and finding homes for animals, and you have the outcome of what HSUS’s own donors think. In fact, most HSUS donors we polled think HSUS misleads people.

However, we’re sure HSUS—which employs dozens of lawyers in-house with the money it deceptively raises—will try to weasel its way out of any accountability for its manipulative fundraising by saying that it never actively made misleading statements. But according to the Federal Trade Commission, “Most deception involves written or oral misrepresentations, or omissions of material information.” (Emphasis added.)

Omission of material fact—such as an ad that does not have a disclaimer that HSUS is not affiliated with local humane societies and that HSUS does not run a single pet shelter. According to copies of TV ads we received, between Jan. 2009 and Sept. 2011 about 99% of HSUS’s ads did not have a disclaimer that it is independent from local humane societies.

A full investigation into the nitty-gritty is necessary and timely. General Pruitt has taken a bold, and necessary, step toward keeping HSUS accountable. At the very least, the outcome will hopefully result in significant monies going from HSUS to Sooner shelters, which is likely where Oklahomans thought it was going in the first place.

Posted on 02/19/2014 at 3:52 pm by Humane Watch Team.

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  • Charlee Helms

    While you’re at it, take a look at backing political candidates from a tax exempt organization…….

  • elaine hanson

    @At the very least, the outcome will hopefully result in significant monies going from HSUS to Sooner shelters . . .

    Please, I hope not! HSUS had a huge success in buying off the Louisiana attorney general by donating a minor portion of the cost of building ONE shelter in that state, when the AG had sued to hold HSUS accountable for something like $27 million of the $34 million it had raised but not spent to “help animals suffering because of Hurricane Katrina.” As I recall, HSUS contributed $600,000 toward construction – possibly the cost of plumbing for the facility.

    I will be extremely disappointed if the Oklahoma AG caves in and drops this suit in exchange for HSUS passing along pocket change to some OK shelters. What HSUS loses in the sofa cushions over a weekend would be significant monies to the Sooner shelters, but would not amount to justice and accountability for the mammoth damage HSUS does by using donations to lobby and litigate AGAINST ownership and use of animals.

    • sue swanigan

      HSUS helped kill about 20,000 dogs and we lost about 7500. jobs in Missouri in 2009 hope it don’t happen in OK

  • Overleas

    Now if Missouri will get on this lawsuit it will be a good thing.

    • joe

      texas too

  • Joe Schreibvogel

    I applaud Mr. Pruitt for stepping up and doing this, out of the 500 million they raise each year out of honest hard working Americans and than living high off the hog on it for himself and his friends with nothing going to animals. Now you should let the public know that the HSUS Black Beauty Ranch has been in violation of the animal welfare act many times which is what they dog everyone else about. Last I would love to see Oklahoma pass a law that if you raise moneys from Oklahoma and your an out of state non-profit that you have to give 50% of it back to Oklahoma animal shelters to stop more scams like Big Cat Rescue, Born Free, and many others. If you raise money on line you should be audited for where it comes from and where it goes.

    • BRob11

      The law, unfortunately, would make no sense. You could no longer donate to Doctor’s Without Borders, the International Red Cross, Catholic Relief Services (working primarily in Africa, Asia, and Latin America), Project HOPE, and many other international organizations that don’t have a presence in Oklahoma? Disclosure would be good, but I donate to organizations many times KNOWING their efforts are taking place at the national level, and in the long run will benefit us all.

  • NY Ugba NY Ugba

    Good job !!

  • dragonladyalso

    While I am glad he is investigating this, a MUCH HIGHER priority should be to investigate why a so called “conservative” governor has bought Common Core (renamed) hook, line and sinker and is doing her best to cram it down the throats of our children.

  • BRob11

    Be aware there is a big difference between the HSUS and the American Humane Association (AHA). HSUS counts on people not being aware they’re two different organizations.

  • AnnaGraceS

    Be aware there is a big difference between the HSUS and the American Humane Association (AHA). HSUS counts on people not being aware they’re two different organizations. This is CRIMINAL and needs to be brought to the attention of every animal lover!!! Where did that other 99% of the millions raised go?!?!?!?

  • KaD

    How is this not FRAUD?

  • Anja J

    I would say it is very misleading with what it does with donations just in the commercials it runs on TV. Who doesn’t see those commercials and believe any money donated will take care of abused, neglected animals? Are those House reps going to send in another letter to the IRS to investigate the tax exempt status of HSUS? I believe the letter they sent 2 years ago or so, “disappeared” under the leadership of Lois Learner, who was in charge of the part of the IRS who investigated things like that. She was said to be a strong member of the HSUS.

  • Letty Grayson

    The HSUS performs one proven service to American citizens: they publish the scorecard that rolls up all the animal welfare voting in Congress. It is a useful tool for voters. As far as your allegations of their funds being used inappropriately, I can’t speak to that. My sense, however, is that you exaggerate greatly.