More Misleading HSUS Fundraising

The Humane Society of the United States does not run a single pet shelter and gives only 1 percent of its money to local pet shelters. Despite the common misconceptions among the general public and HSUS’s own donors, HSUS claims that its fundraising isn’t deceptive. New documents cast doubt on that defense.

The Massachusetts attorney general publishes online contracts between charities and their solicitors or fundraising counsel. It also requires these companies to file forms with information about how much money from a campaign is expected to go to charity, and how much donors are told will go to charity.

There’s a disparity in some cases.

Fine Line Communications runs HSUS’s in-bound call center for a fee, and tells the Massachusetts attorney general that HSUS will receive 10% of the gross receipts of the money it raises. But then, in the very next line, states that it will tell prospective donors that “approximately 90% will go to the charitable organization.”


It doesn’t take a math whiz to see that things aren’t right. This contract goes through June 2015.

Here’s Donor Services Group, which has a contract with Humane Society International (based out of HSUS’s office in Washington, D.C.).


The charity will receive 2% of the gross receipts, but prospective donors are told that 100% of their donation will go to charity.

That’s certainly misleading. It may be technically true that 100% of the proceeds go first to the charity, which then pays the solicitor 98% of the proceeds. But when people ask how much money will go to charity, they mean net gain of the campaign.

And then there’s Donor Care Center, raising money for HSUS:



Starting to get the picture?

People who support the Humane Society of the United States think their donation will help cats and dogs. But much of that money never reaches pet shelters or even HSUS, instead winding up in the pockets of for-profit solicitors who use misleading statements. HSUS knows this; it agrees to the contracts.

CharityWatch, an independent watchdog, gives HSUS a “C-minus” grade and finds that up to 45% of HSUS’s budget is spent on overhead. But if you asked the HSUS solicitor on the phone, you might not ever learn that.

Posted on 04/03/2014 at 4:59 pm by Humane Watch Team.

Topics: Main


  • fearnot

    share share share

  • WickedCats


  • Dannielle Romeo

    how can this not be considered outright FRAUD?

  • Steffanie Goltra Byrnes

    I urge people not to donate to the Humane Society or ASPCA shelters either. I worked for a LA shelter, and took classes at both agencies. They are just better at hiding the ugliness of their euthanasia. I think people should donate to legitimate rescues and animal sanctuaries. I would donate and volunteers at these shelters, and especially high kill shelters, because this gives the animals the best chance to be adopted. I am sorry, I do not agree with their ridicules adoption policies, and no kill shelters often refuse to take strays in the area, because they are to crowded. I also think it is wrong when these organizations refuse to help low income people in their community with vet care. Often, the employees will force the owner to give up ownership instead of working with the owner. These organizations do receive donations, and there is no reason they cannot help out pet owners out, especially in this economy.
    As for The Humane Society, is disgusting and wrong. The organization is fraudulent and they should shut down and the profits given to different actual animal organizations. Why would they have a CEO that hates animals and flaunts it, and supports known animal abusers!? I hope he burns in hell!

    • MisterCadet

      The Humane Society of the United States does not run a single pet shelter anywhere in the world! The ASPCA runs just one, in New York. Wayne Pacelle has denigrated the No-Kill Shelter movement and it’s leader, Nathan Winograd for a decade and HSUS is still actively sabotaging No-Kill legislation across the country. Dog and cat misery fundraising is their biggest cash cow and HSUS doesn’t want it to end. Good shelters do not exploit the suffering of animals in fundraising and infomercials. Real animal lovers respect the dignity of these animals and work to end their misery as quickly as possible. HSUS steals credit for that work and stuffs it’s pockets and bank accounts – here and in the Cayman Islands – with that stolen money. Evil.

      Wayne Pacelle is a pathological liar who is morally and psychologically unfit to run a lemonade stand, much less a giant fundraising and lobbying factory posing as “the leading animal welfare organization” in the country. HSUS “helps coordinate” assistance to low-income people in some cities, while claiming to “provide” the vet care, behavior training and other services. HSUS then fundraises off these false claims, exploiting both animals and low-income people.

      Animals and their caretakers need direct – not indirect – help. Money, not legislation that Pacelle and his minions claim will help shelters. Cash, not $25,000 shelter evaluations, an expensive trade show for shelters, $399 euthanasia training videos, and the worthless Humane Society University, which is more expensive than Harvard, and deserves to close (and may do so soon). HSUS sucks more money out of local communities than any other charity – in ANY cause – in the country. Evil.

      On a brighter note, check out the work of Red Rover, particularly it’s Lifeline Program. With a tiny fraction of the budgets of the behemoths, Red Rover gives direct grants to pet owners in need, especially in crisis situations. They have been doing this for at least ten years, and have many more requests for assistance than they can meet. Red Rover uses no professional fundraisers. HSUS keeps those professional liars-for-hire in business.

      Our donations to Red Rover and other worthy animal charities will meaningfully help animals.

      • Steffanie Goltra Byrnes

        I am fine with no kill shelters, I have problems with no kill shelters that refuse to take in abandoned or stray animals, or owner surrenders. I also think some of the adoption policies are ridicules. I do not have a problem with kitties being indoor only; some breeds have an abundance of energy, and experts encourage owners to walk these types of felines. This is discouraged by these organizations. Also, enclosed outdoor play areas for cats are highly recommended by cat experts, but frowned upon by these organizations, and disqualifies you from adoption. I can understand small dogs being inside only, or requiring supervision while outdoors in a backyard. I see nothing wrong with allowing a larger dog the ability to come in and out at will with a doggy door. This is also disqualifies a dog owner. Some want the dog or cat to sleep in bed with you instead of a dog/cat bed, and if you choose not to, then your adoption is denied. The point of a animal shelter is to promote adoptions, not to find stupid reasons to refuse potential owners! From there frustrated people complain on line thus discouraging others. The focus is to promote adoptions, find a pet that fits the adopters lifestyle. It is stressful for an animal to live in a cage or kennel, especially if there is a family that wants to give it a home. Some places seem to find joy in their denial, or purposely rude to good Samaritans dropping off stray animals they discovered. Look at Irvine’s Animal Shelter, Pasadena Animal Shelter, Huntington Beach Humane Society, Long Beach Humane Society, Seal Beach Animal Shelter on Yelp.

      • Steffanie Goltra Byrnes

        Humane Societies all over the country are shameful. They are supposed to help animals, yet do not. Some provide low income services, yet others refuse to offer services to pets on need of the owners do not have the funding. Lets say, an elderly women took in a cat that was pregnant. She was having problems birthing the kittens. Some agencies will turn owners away, or force them to surrender their animals. Many refuse to help at all, period. Agencies that truly care help animals and their owners. I think many put on a front of caring, but it is all about funding, and not about the care, well being, and needs of the animals,

    • wolftimber

      Speaking of ridiculous adoption policies, there’s a rescue here that has a crazy contract you have to sign, some of the highlights of it include giving them the right to come onto your property at ANY time to check on THEIR dog! they can also seize the dog if they deem anything on your application is incorrect or there is something about your home situation/care etc is not to their satisfaction, they can also bill you for the cost to have a volunteer do this taking the dog back and charging you a fee and mileage! You of course agree to this when you sign!
      They also list another penalty like a fine, they demand your vet’s contact and they will ask about your spay/neuter history and other issues of your pet ownership and treatment with that vet, the contract goes on and on like this!

      Amazing that anyone in their right mind would ever sign a contract like this, you are signing away your rights to due process and allowing warrantless search and seizures, all this plus their “adoption” fee is as I recall $200, screw them and that, I BUY from a show or similar breeder when I’m looking for a puppy.