Watchdog wants HSUS investigated

News
Feb 20, 2012
by WLJ

Last week, Humane- Watch.org, a project of the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to open an investigation into the deceptive fundraising practices of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). A recent Freedom of Information Act request revealed that more than 120 complaints have been filed with the FTC since December 2011 regarding HSUS.

Dozens of the complaints come from Americans who have given money to HSUS. HSUS’ deceptive advertising helps fool the unsuspecting public: a recent analysis found that more than 85 percent of the animals in HSUS’ TV appeals between January 2009 and September 2011 were cats and dogs, when just 1 percent of the money donated to HSUS is sent to hands-on pet shelters, according to HSUS tax returns.

“This is deception on a national level, and the FTC needs to act now,” said J. Justin Wilson, CCF’s senior research analyst. “HSUS routinely employs familiar images of sad-looking dogs and cats in their advertisements. Yet, the majority of HSUS’ donations are used to bankroll an animal rights agenda. This emotionally charged bait-and-switch doesn’t just harm donors. It harms needy shelters and pets.”

Recent public polling determined that 71 percent of Americans mistakenly believe that HSUS is a pet shelter umbrella group, and 68 percent wrongly think that HSUS spends most of its money on pet shelters. Less than 1 percent of HSUS fundraising appeals have contained a disclaimer that local humane societies are independent of HSUS.

A list of quotes and a PDF of the complaints are accessible at Humane Watch.org.

WLJ

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