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

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  • MisterCadet

    HSUS is the only wealthy animal “charity” so shamelessly begging for money – “Our rescue team is on the ground in Houston…but we cannot do this work without your help.” What work? What ground? The wonderful rescue and shelter community is all over the web offering help with evacuation, fostering, transport, money, supplies and more. Texas shelters have been helping with transport and care for days. As with Katrina, animal lovers from all over the country are spending their own funds trying to save animal victims of this disaster. Twelve years post-Katrina, rescuers who experienced HSUS’s shameless exploitation are still seething (it was that bad). Just as HSUS did after Katrina and Sandy, donations go to the “Disaster Team,” as a whole, not to specific disasters. HSUS also collects for the Animal Rescue Fund.” Donation forms include a disclaimer that the money can be used for this and “future disasters.” That’s their get out jail card. Help Hurricane Katrina/Sandy/Harvey animals – text 1800SUCKERS to donate to the HSUS Disaster Relief Team. Who would think to verify where the money is going in a heartbreaking emergency? HSUS doesn’t even have a Disaster Fund – the money goes into the general budget. If there was an actual disaster fund, there would be no need for emergency fundraising. How many major animal-related disasters have their been? The Katrina money was wasted, while a chunk of unreported Sandy $$$$ went to the Cayman Islands. HSUS is not exactly the Salvation Army or even the bloated Red Cross – at least those groups do disaster work all year long. While promoting his book, Pacelle actually addressed criticism by stating that while donors respond to crises, the money is better used to get at the root causes. We know what that means.

    • Guzifer

      “Root causes” means it’s probably funneled to some leftist global warming organization. 🙄

  • Lori
    • Dawn Panda

      Lori, the Animal Rescue Site appears to be a well-funded organization but one that is legitimate. It does not directly work with animals; it’s a fund-raising site that distributes the capital it raises to charities that do the hands-on work. I couldn’t find, anywhere on their site, an explanation of how it determines who is to be the recipient of the funds, but I don’t really have the time right now to check that out more thoroughly.

  • Lori

    CharityUSA.com LLC – paid through PayPal. Is this legit or I will ask PayPal to remove charges.

  • Lori

    I still don’t understand. Is what I just donated to legit or should I withdraw my donation?

    • Lynn

      To whom did you sent it. If to HSUS, see if you can cancel. Go to the site for the Houston SPCA! They are awesome and will do the right thing.

    • MisterCadet

      I checked the site in question. It is quite legitimate and has nothing do with HSUS. The Animal Rescue Site is supporting Wings of Rescue, a group that specializes in flying needy pets out of harm’s way. Disaster relief is part, not all, of their animal rescue operation. I learned something interesting when I checked that fundraising page. Wings of Rescue is working with Freekibble Flights To Freedom. Freekibble was created in 2008 by a 13 year old girl named Mimi Ausland.She set up an online trivia game where people answer questions and pet food is donated to shelters. She started with her local shelter in Oregon and got a ton of media coverage. Free Kibble still has the trivia game but has expanded to help more animals all over the country.

      Get this: In January, 2009, after Ausland had just received various hero awards for her first year of operation, Wayne Pacelle ripped off her work via an online trivia game to save pets (save pups.com and save kitties.com). Those sites are no longer online, but I printed them a long time ago. HSUS had people answer trivia questions that “feed pets in shelters” by raising cash for HSUS via advertisers. The wording allowed HSUS them to use the money for lobbying by including “save shelter pets and baby seals” and “feed kittens and stop puppy mills.” A press release announcing the scam project is available online “The Humane Society of the United States and Experience Project Team up to Save Animals via Social Networks, Ask Pet Lovers to Help.” (PR Newswire, January 28, 2009). HSUS duped the Experience Project too.

  • Lori

    It comes from the “Animal Rescue Site” – GTGM – Help Fly Pets to Freedom! – $50

    • towtrip

      Fly them where? Shouldn’t they stay where their families can find them?

      • Judi Cabana Kelley Lafreniere

        They are flying the animals that were already in shelters, to provide room for the incoming animals that have lost their homes & families due to Hurricane Harvey.

        • Carol

          Yes, I live in Florida and our local animal shelter just received a bunch of dogs and cats from a Houston animal shelter that was flooded. I hope they don’t have to move again because of Hurricane Irma!

      • marydow

        They are flying them to higher ground shelters north of the flood zone. The usual procedure is to keep records on all rescued animals so their owners can find them. This is what was done for Katrina.

        • towtrip

          Right and they learned from Katrina that it didn’t work! People weren’t able to locate their pets and almost no pets that got “flown out” were reunited with their families. The focus now is keeping the pets in the area to focus on reuniting pets with families. If we do the same thing we did in Katrina, we didn’t learn anything from that total disaster (both literally and figuratively).

  • Neal Christensen

    Had some experience with HSUS in the past. They were (are) a money raiser for their own purposes and did not operate a single animal shelter in the US. They show ads on TV of all the suffering animals, but spend very little of the millions they bring in on animals themselves.

    • Lori

      Right now the news shows them paying to airlift dogs out of Texas to shelters elsewhere.

      • MisterCadet

        A separate organization, Wings of Rescue, incurs the real costs of these operations all year. HSUS may be paying them (some) money for this disaster but the money HSUS will make with their media blitz will exceed their costs by a million miles. If HSUS did this quietly, without aggressively fundraising all over the place, it would be fine. But that isn’t what is happening.

      • Dawn Panda

        Lori, according to rescue groups that were based in affected areas after Katrina, the HSUS came in, ran around in their signature t-shirts and made sure there were photographers around every time they “helped” an animal. In the meantime, the locals were feeding, watering, cleaning and caring for the animals in the shelters. The locals were slogging through the floodwaters even when there were no cameras. I have to suspect darned similar is happening here.

  • Starr Quirt

    I am grateful to read these comments. I donate to smaller local groups but recently got on HSUS mailing list. I questioned the group due to the aggressive nature in which it solicits donations. I will not send to them and will pass on the site link here.

  • towtrip

    Actually, most of the shelters (human and animal) are asking people NOT to send supplies. They have a hard time receiving deliveries and availability of storage space is extremely limited. They prefer cash (to organizations who are actually doing the work — not HSUS) so they can purchase supplies on an as-needed basis. Just to be clear, though, HSUS is not the same as the local humane societies, ASPCA (who has a team on the ground in Houston), or Best Friends Animal Society (who has a team on the ground in conjunction with several shelters from Colorado and other states with emergency response vehicles and equipment).

  • Norma Stevlingson

    Send your money to Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah. They will be setting up temporary shelters and rescuing animals on site and will use the money to those ends, and not to line any pockets!

  • Lynn

    I gave to the Houston SPCA! They do a great job!

  • Phil McArdle

    They are a sad, manipulative group!!! Stay away from them.

  • Muneca014

    I regularly donate, however, I feel more inclined to donate to individuals rather than corporations. I have a good rapport with a doggy foster mom. I help pay for dog food and vet visits and I see the difference she makes. Does anyone know of someone who is making a difference rescuing animals from natural disasters such as the hurricanes? If so, can you provide a link to a legitimate Gofundme?

  • towtrip

    Before you donate go to Charity Navigator and check out the charity you want to support.

  • Carol

    Of course, the HSUS is asking for money to help rescue pets in Houston. I doubt ANYONE from the national organization is there doing ANYTHING. Donate to a LOCAL Houston shelter or legitimate animal rescue organization instead.