Topic: Fundraising & Money

  • Humane Society of the U.S. Has $51 Million in the Caribbean

    While most of the country enjoys the temperate fall weather, snow has already fallen in many areas out west. Those looking for warm retreats as the weather cools are already looking at places in the Caribbean. We might suggest the Cayman Islands, where the Humane Society of the United States is keeping donor money tanned, rested, and ready—and away from the animals it is supposed to help.

    According to HSUS’s most recent (2016) tax return, the organization has $51,469,167 sitting in “investments” in the Caribbean. In the past, HSUS has disclosed that these millions are sitting in specific funds in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.

    Meanwhile, HSUS continues to engage in predatory fundraising. The past few weeks have been replete with pleas from HSUS and its highly compensated CEO Wayne Pacelle, begging for donations to fund its disaster relief team. However, we’ve seen this script before. After Hurricane Sandy, HSUS raised several million dollars but only spent about one-third of what it raised on Sandy relief.

    The rest might have made a nice addition to HSUS’s Cayman funds. Much like we suspect money raised after the three recent storms will end up. Read our report, “Looting in the Aftermath,” for more evidence of how HSUS exploits high-profile events.

    Posted on 10/18/2017 at 12:37 pm by Humane Watch Team.

    Topics: Fundraising & Money


  • Your Taxpayer Dollars Fund HSUS

    The $640 toilet seat bought by the Pentagon. The $7,600 coffee pot. The $37 screws. The annals of government waste run long.

    Add one more chapter: the Humane Society of the United States.

    Federal records show that HSUS was awarded $715,000 last year from the federal government. Most of that money came from the Department of Justice, with another chunk of change coming from the Department of the Interior.

    And what exactly is your money going towards? Some of it pays for shooting up feral horses with contraceptive drugs, while other money covers work HSUS should already be doing for free.

    For the Department of the Interior, moneys to HSUS included $99,000 for “training on new penal code to improve enforcement of wildlife laws in Vietnam” and $65,000 for testing the contraceptive drug PZP on feral horses in northwest Arizona. HSUS wants the costly PZP to be used broadly to control wildlife populations, as an alternative to hunting–and taxpayers would foot the bill.

    Ironically, Bureau of Land Management officials think PZP is a waste of time. According to a Government Accountability Office report released last month, “Due to the costs, limited duration of effectiveness, and the difficulty of accessing most areas, administering the treatments on a large scale is not currently cost-effective for maintaining most wild horse populations at sustainable levels, according to agency officials.” So why the outlay of public money to HSUS?

    Funds from the Department of Justice, meanwhile, went to help pay for the care of dogs seized in criminal cases under the agency’s asset forfeiture program. The original contract value appears to have been reduced this year, but isn’t this something HSUS could do for free? HSUS has $50 million sitting in offshore Caribbean accounts, according to its latest tax return, and has enough money to pay 44 people over $100,000 a year in compensation. It spent $70 million on fundraising last year—couldn’t HSUS cut back on the junk mail solicitations to help care for some dogs? (Apparently not.)

    Don’t want your tax dollars given to HSUS? Contact your Congressman and complain. A group hoarding $50 million in the Caribbean does not deserve a penny of taxpayer money. And since HSUS is on the public dole, perhaps an oversight committee can take a closer look at just how that money was spent.

    Posted on 09/21/2017 at 11:42 am by Humane Watch Team.

    Topics: Fundraising & MoneyGov't, Lobbying, Politics


  • How Much Did HSUS Spend on its CEO’s Book Tour?

    The Humane Society of the United States is a wasteful charity, spending more than half of its donors’ money on fundraising-related expenses last year, according to its tax return. It also appears that HSUS spent a pretty penny on a months-long, multi-city book tour for its CEO—whose book doesn’t even appear to have sold well at all. Donor money even was spent flying his wife around.

    According to the 2016 HSUS tax return, the organization received royalties of $22,172 for Wayne Pacelle’s book. Pacelle was paid $22,172 in royalties as well, and got an advance of $46,750 in 2015. Based on how authors are paid royalties and advances—details here—and the cost of Pacelle’s book, we estimate that only about 26,000 copies were bought.

    Not exactly John Grisham. Keep in mind that HSUS has a mailing list of millions of people—and that’s the best he could do?

    And it looks even worse when you consider that, for that measly $22,000, HSUS paid for Pacelle to crisscross the county on a book tour.

    We were able to track down 18 states (plus DC) on Pacelle’s book tour, with a total of 35 days and 37 stops from coast to coast. Once you factor in flights (first class?), hotels, meals, and other expenses, it starts to add up.

    We may also add in travel expenses for Pacelle Wife #2, former al Jazeera reporter Lisa Fletcher. HSUS reports on its tax return that it paid $4,181 to cover her “travel expenses” for “media support.” And it’s possible that HSUS staffers (or even a bodyguard) traveled with Pacelle.

    Not long ago “60 Minutes” exposed a charity CEO for writing a book and having the charity pay for his book tour. Donors to HSUS expect their money will be used to help care for animals—not serve as a self-promotional vanity tour for its CEO—who already gets paid over $400,000 a year.

    Posted on 09/13/2017 at 12:16 pm by Humane Watch Team.

    Topics: Executive StaffFundraising & Money


  • Humane Society of the U.S. Spends Over Half of Donations on Fundraising

    With the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) attempting to exploit Hurricane Harvey to fill its coffers, it’s a good time to take a look at its newest tax return to see how the group uses donor money. Spoiler alert: Poorly.

    Last year HSUS spent a whopping $70 million on fundraising-related expenses—over half of its budget. For every dollar donated that people think is going to animals, more than 50 cents is going to pay for direct mail, TV ads, and telephone solicitations instead of providing animal care. (Speaking of care for animals—HSUS does not run a single pet shelter and is not affiliated with the similarly named humane societies that do care for animals.)

    That’s not all. Along with high overhead costs, HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle earned over $400,000 in 2016. Additionally, 44 people at HSUS made over $100,000. The one animal HSUS execs like most, apparently, is the cash cow.

    On top of that, HSUS reports having over $50 million stuffed in offshore accounts in the Caribbean.

    No doubt when charity evaluators get wind of this, they will downgrade their ratings of HSUS. In the meantime, we suggest you give to your local shelter if you don’t want your money wasted on junk-mail solicitations and executive salaries. Many local shelters across the country are housing animals in the wake of Harvey, while the Houston Humane Society and San Antonio Humane Society are both dealing with the disaster up close.

    Posted on 09/05/2017 at 9:36 am by Humane Watch Team.

    Topics: Financial DocumentsFundraising & Money


  • Want to Help Animals Affected by Hurricane Harvey? Be Careful.

    The pictures that emerged over the weekend of stranded animals in southeast Texas certainly pulled at our heartstrings. Along with all of the damage Hurricane Harvey has inflicted on humans, it has also impacted many dogs, cats, and other pets. But anyone moved to make a donation to help animals affected by the storm should think twice about giving to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

    HSUS has a history of abusing disasters for financial gain. After Hurricane Sandy, HSUS admitted to the New York Attorney General that two-thirds of the millions it raised did not go to Sandy relief. And we’ve documented other high-profile instances where HSUS failed to live up to expectations.

    Our advice? Focus on getting supplies to help animals, if possible, instead of cash. Give to groups that will be affected for a long time, namely those in southeast Texas. And make sure whoever you give to is in need of the money. HSUS has executives with six-figure salaries and has stashed over $50 million into the Caribbean. These fat cats don’t need a dime.

    Posted on 08/28/2017 at 1:32 pm by Humane Watch Team.

    Topics: DisastersFundraising & Money


  • Target Rips Hampton Creek Off its Shelves

    We’ve highlighted the woes that HSUS-financed Hampton Creek Foods has suffered in the past, ranging from investigations of financial misconduct to alleged sexual impropriety, but perhaps the most devastating blow to the beleaguered vegan startup occurred last week. Bloomberg reports that Target has voluntarily removed all Hampton Creek “Just” brand products from its shelves after detailed accusations surfaced that listeria and salmonella were found at a manufacturing plant that produced “Just” brand products. The same whistleblower also noted that some products that claimed to be genetically modified organism (GMO) free, in fact, contained GMOs.

    For Hampton Creek, Bloomberg estimates that losing Target will account for about $5.5 million in yearly retail sales, or a third of the company’s total retail business.

    With every passing day, HSUS’s decision to put money into faux-food instead of pet shelters looks more and more rotten.

    Posted on 06/30/2017 at 3:33 pm by HumaneWatch Team.

    Topics: Fundraising & Money


  • Humane Society of the U.S. Favors Fundraising over Animal Rescue

    It seems every time there’s a natural disaster, we can count on some charities trying to help and some charities trying to exploit the situation to raise money. Those with loud voices may be the bad actors, devoting resources to fundraising and PR, while other groups quietly do hard work, spending their resources getting their hands dirty.

    Consider the latest from the Humane Society of the United States. This group runs sad ads on TV full of needy dogs and cats, yet gives only 1% of its money to pet shelters and doesn’t run a single pet shelter of its own. It does, however, spend tens of millions of dollars on marketing itself well, so people are under the impression that it’s a legitimate and effective group. (Our report “Looting in the Aftermath” documents several high-profile events the Humane Society of the United States exploited.)

    This morning we happened to take a gander at what employment positions HSUS is trying to fill. HSUS is only trying to hire 3 people for its Animal Rescue Team. Meanwhile, it’s hiring 16 people for fundraising/marketing positions:

    That should say it all about the priorities at HSUS. The best thing animal lovers can do is to give local to a shelter or rescue near them.

    Posted on 04/20/2017 at 11:53 am by Humane Watch Team.

    Topics: Fundraising & Money


  • Unpacking the HSUS Gravy Train (2017 Edition)

    When it comes to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), we have never had high hopes that it would live up to its heart-wrenching advertisements and actually help shelter animals. Historically, HSUS would rather spend money on lawyers and lobbyists. But after analyzing its financials from the most recent IRS Form 990 tax return, even we were stunned at the paltry 0.68% of the total budget that was spent on grants for pet care in 2015.

    More takeaways include:

    • HSUS has stashed away over $58 million in Caribbean hedge funds, showing how it prioritizes Caribbean tax shelters over American animal shelters.
    • Wayne Pacelle, CEO of HSUS, received a nearly $24,000 raise, increasing his compensation to $448,980, or about half of what HSUS spent on pet-care grants. No wonder he could buy a $1.1 million house in cash.
    • HSUS spent $5.8 million of donor money on hiring Quadriga Art—a fundraising group that was exposed in national media and paid over $20 million to the New York Attorney General to settle a deceptive-fundraising investigation the previous year.
    • HSUS spent over $40 million on fundraising costs, or over 29% of its total expenses. Including management and general expenses that total increases to 31%. That’s not an overhead percentage to write home about.
    • HSUS spent $4.1 million on lobbying, with $1.1 million going to Massachusetts Question 3, a referendum that dramatically increases the cost of pork and eggs by banning the sale of commonly produced eggs and pork products. This will ultimately hit the poorest residents of Massachusetts the hardest.
    • HSUS spent over $3 million on its pension plan—more than three times its grants for pet care.

    As “charities” go, HSUS is a bad investment. With so much money spent on superfluous legal and lobbying staff and fees, it’s no wonder that the organization’s impact on helping shelter pets is so limited. If you want to help pets, then please donate to a local shelter where your dollars will go the furthest, and spread the word about the deceitful advertising by HSUS.

    Posted on 04/12/2017 at 1:52 pm by HumaneWatch Team.

    Topics: Annual ReportsDocument AnalysisExecutive StaffFinancial DocumentsFundraising & MoneyGov't, Lobbying, Politics


  • Conservatives Should Ignore Overtures from HSUS

    It isn’t enough that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) misleads the American public with ads focused on helping pets – only about 1% of its budget goes toward funding local shelters – now it is making overtures to conservatives with similarly distorted rhetoric. Recently, we’ve seen HSUS hire a GOP fundraiser, reach out to conservative think-tanks, and have several employees attend the Conservative Political Action Conference in DC. (HSUS was previously banned from exhibiting there, but apparently individual employees can still register.) And last week, an HSUS staffer who is the son of a syndicated conservative columnist argued that conservatives should support the HSUS agenda out of a “common love of animals.”

    That’s like saying everyone in Congress should be able to work together because “they love America.” Loving animals and loving America isn’t in dispute: the means and methods of that protection matter. HSUS’s big-government approach to public policy is anathema to conservative principles, and HSUS actively attempts to undermine conservatives at the ballot box.

    According to OpenSecrets for the 2016 cycle, Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF), the legislative arm of HSUS, gave $4 to help Democrats for every $1 given to Republicans. Its Super PAC spent two-to-one for Democrats. When you look at the methodology for the HSLF’s scorecard, it’s littered with policies like expanding federal lands, encroachment on a state’s right to manage its wildlife populations, and generally being pro-regulation.

    In 2016, HSUS funded a ballot measure in Massachusetts that will ban the sale of most eggs and pork as they’re currently produced. Instead of allowing the free market to work and consumers to have choices about whether to buy cage-free eggs (at a higher cost) or regular eggs, HSUS would prefer to outlaw the sale of common eggs. HSUS has pushed gun and ammunition control. It advocates for legislation to ban the sale of pets at pet stores and legislation to ban circuses from coming to town.

    You can’t cozy up to the party of individual liberty and the free market when you’re constantly trying to undermine both.

    HSUS is a front group for radical animal-rights activists that are pro-vegan and anti-animal enterprise. Conservatives should be wary of sweet-talk.

    Posted on 03/22/2017 at 10:12 am by HumaneWatch Team.

    Topics: Fundraising & Money


  • #TBT: When WSB-TV Exposed HSUS

    We do a number of ad campaigns exposing the Humane Society of the United States and encouraging people to give to their local pet shelters, which are unaffiliated with HSUS. But enterprising reporters and investigators have also played a part in shedding a spotlight on the bad deeds of HSUS. One such instance was a 2009 report from WSB-TV in Atlanta.

    It’s a report HSUS doesn’t want people to see. HSUS bullied the TV station into taking the report off its website, no doubt flexing some legal muscle. The station issued a “clarification” that HSUS disagreed with the reporting, but never retracted the report. (Of course HSUS disagreed with it. The truth isn’t flattering.)

    But like many things on the Internet, the segment lives on. Watch it below.

    Posted on 03/02/2017 at 4:50 pm by Humane Watch Team.

    Topics: Audio & VideoFundraising & Money