This “Memorandum of Understanding” is a contract offered by the Humane Society of the United States to literally thousands of U.S. pet shelters in January 2011, in conjunction with HSUS’s February 2011 “SPAY DAY” promotion.
HSUS offered a similar contract to shelters in 2009. Its annual report claims “nearly 400 organizers in 24 countries” participated, but HSUS’s tax return for the same year reports the disbursement of only about 155 related grants.
In exchange for $2,000 from HSUS, the contract requires pet shelters to turn over detailed records on every animal spayed or neutered with the funds. It also requires each participating shelter to give HSUS at least two photographs and two glowing testimonials for HSUS to use in its public-relations campaigns.
In January 2011 many shelter directors reported that this contract created division among their Board members and staff. The most common disagreement arose over whether it would be appropriate for a shelter that HSUS has never financially supported to accept limited funding for a narrow purpose—with one result being HSUS’s ability to promote itself as something it’s not (a shelter-support charity).