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Atlanta TV news “investigates” HSUS

The news report above is one that critics of the Humane Society of the United States want you to see — so much so that they’ve launched a campaign to get it placed on as many websites as possible.

It appears here not as part of that campaign, and not because it’s good investigative reporting — actually it’s pretty shoddy. But since critics are characterizing the “bombshell” video’s removal from both the WSB-TV Channel 2 news website and YouTube as part of some nefarious, freedom-of-speech-infringing conspiracy, we thought we’d post it here.

That way you can see for yourself there’s not much to it. The Humane Society of the United States operates independently of local shelters that have “humane society” in their names. Some members of the public don’t know that. The report asks the question, is the HSUS deceiving people when it seeks donations to do its national level work — primarily lobbying, enforcement of animal cruelty laws and public education?

If HSUS said it was regularly funding local shelters, yes, it would be. But it doesn’t say that, and the kind of work they do (not to mention better investigative reporting than some local TV stations) is posted for everyone to see on the HSUS website.

The Atlanta TV station says it called 20 area shelters and found none of them received funding from the HSUS. That, and finding HSUS critics to interview, appears to be the extent of the investigation. Could the HSUS help local shelters more? Sure. Is it their mission? No. It’s not the umbrella organization for local humane societies, just as the the ASPCA is not the provider for local SPCAs.

The YouTube version of the report is no longer available due to a copyright claim by WSB-TV, an ABC affiliate.


Comment from yellowjacket
Time May 28, 2009 at 9:14 am

The HSUS does in fact deceive many with their commercials asking for donations to “to help animals” it is public perception that the HSUS is the umbrella org for all humane societys. The HSUS tramples human rights each year with tax-exempt donations via loop-holes. They should not be allowed to influence legislation and have no involvement in politics.

Pingback from Pet Connection Blog » Haters, lies and what we’re not learning from our pets
Time May 28, 2009 at 12:37 pm

[…] Without even creasing my brow I can think of a dozen non-animal-related organizations that do the same. Lobbying, after all, is a stand-alone business, and I doubt many of the lobbyists in Washington or Sacramento spend much of their time involved with the management of the business or social interests they represent. (Pulitzer prize-winning reporter John Woestendiek of the OhMiDog blog takes apart the TV piece, here.) […]

Comment from True Animal Lover
Time May 28, 2009 at 12:53 pm

The H$U$ is a sham. They are lying! They scam people into supporting their lobbying. Only ones benefitting are their employees – incl a terrorist – and the politicians who have allowed them in their pockets! Let them eat soy – I’ll stick with steak and eggs!!!

Comment from jim
Time May 28, 2009 at 2:06 pm

It is a shame…that HSUS continues to defraud the public. As an Animal Control Agency Director I can personally attest to HSUS’s fraudulent fund raising. They put out a press release claiming credit for and asking for money to help with a large animal rescue..that my agency ran, that volunteers for my agency worked on, and that HSUS provided NO funds, NO help, NO expertise-nothing. They simply used our efforts to gain donations for their cause. And that is typical-begging for money for operations they have no part of. That is fraud, and HSUS should face indictment, punishment-and if they were shut down completely not one animal would suffer…except of course the overpaid executive staff.

Comment from LSC
Time May 28, 2009 at 3:38 pm

Last I checked ANY 501C3 organization should have zero influence on law making or lobbying. I do believe it states that in the tax code for those organizations. And PLEASE explain to my how HSUS was not posting a lie when they were asking for Katrina donations to care for all the animals they took in? IF that was try why did the government force them to remove that financial request from their web page? Same exact out right lie tactics were used for the Vick dogs. Can you explain how that donation request was not a scam? And why the HSUS then turned right around and demand those dogs be killed by the actual rescue organizations that really had them? If anyone is a sham it’s the HSUS and you’d be doing yourself and the animals a favor if you donated to your LOCAL animal shelter instead of this lobbying organization.

Comment from Ginger
Time May 28, 2009 at 5:53 pm

Obviously you were not in LA after Katrina. You would not have such a high opinion of H$U$ if you had. They took in over $34 MILLION to “help” the animals of Katrina… they spent a paltry sum ONLY after the LA AG office started an investigation. The H$U$ put up an advertisement to collect donations for the “care of the Vick dogs”… which they had NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with. They had to take that down when they were called on it. They rush into any high profile situation to make a name for themselves and collect money and leave the locals holding the bag and PAYING the price.

Comment from SAK
Time May 28, 2009 at 6:47 pm

It’s pretty obvious from the links on your pages that you are, of course, going to defend the deceptively named H$U$, a front group for the radical animal rights industry. But to call the truthful expose of that front group ‘shoddy’ is quite the pot calling the kettle black, I would have to say. You’re not ‘reporting’ here, you’re simply regurgitating the propaganda for which the H$U$ is becoming quite famous.

Comment from John
Time May 28, 2009 at 10:35 pm

Funny, YouTube currently has about 250 other clips from WSB-TV that they haven’t made any attempt to take down…

Comment from Wayne Pacelle Loves Wayne Pacelle
Time May 29, 2009 at 1:17 am

H$U$ does not SUPPORT or is AFFFILIATED WITH local humane society shelters as their name may suggest. They are the WEALTHIEST animal activist group in the nation. It is disgusting how they spend the donations of unsuspecting donors. Only 4 cents of every dollar donated goes to hands-on caring of animals. Don’t believe me? Look at their public tax return posted on their site and do the math. It’s all about power and money with this “charity”, not about taking care of animals. Own the truth.

Comment from Pam
Time May 31, 2009 at 3:57 pm

Have any of the people slamming HSUS actually looked at their website? I mean, I think they’re pretty open about the work they do. Many people seem to think SPCA = Humane Society = “the pound” = “the animal shelter” without any input from the HSUS. People that are so against the HSUS in my experience either are making money from exploiting animals in some fashion or else they just can’t come to grips with the fact that America’s views on animal welfare have changed over the last few decades. It’s not some big HSUS plot, folks.

Comment from Agnes
Time June 2, 2009 at 10:16 pm

It’s not the discussion of their deceptive fundraising or the Katrina cash – these are old issues. The HSUS gets attacked every day on all fronts and they rarely launch an all-out offensive to remove a video like this.

It’s about taxes.

As a 503(c) tax-exempt organization, the HSUS is prohibited from engaging in “substantial lobbying activities”. Of course, they do a TON of lobbying. The woman near the end of this video is called their Georgia Director but she is said to do MOSTLY lobbying. Further, this “director” does not appear to have control of a budget or a staff – she has said in subsequent interviews that she takes her marching orders from the HSUS Washington office.

Why is this important?

On their tax forms the HSUS is required to disclose employees engaged in significant lobbying activities. They routinely report that they employ NO staff engaging in lobbying.

So it appears that they are concealing lobbyists by calling them state directors, the title being an effort to obfuscate what they actually do to the prying eyes of the IRS. That’s tax fraud. Multiply that by 50 states and that’s a LOT of tax fraud. And that would be just the beginning.

Comment from JM
Time June 3, 2009 at 12:07 am

I think you mean a 501(c)3, yes?

Comment from gail
Time June 6, 2009 at 1:19 pm

Think of all the tax money lost in this time of fiscal crisis because HSUS is lobbying & not fulfilling its tax exempt goals. And, while the HSUS may have gotten the report off of U-Tube, it’s still on-line and we had lots of fun playing wack-a-mole as it moved from site to site until it settled on one that HSUS cannot touch.

Comment from sarah
Time June 9, 2009 at 10:24 pm

Thank you for posting this news clip!!!

If you look back through years of their tax records, they also employ many of the CEO’s of various extremist groups that commit acts of terror in the name of animals – any time one group gets too much bad press, that CEO is listed under a new group on the next year’s taxes.

And if you think that is scary, did you know that HSUS and Veterinarians for Animal Rights groups have merged to try and use the respectability of veterinary medicine to wield more influence on their illegal lobbying campaigns.

Comment from James Welton
Time January 29, 2010 at 11:31 am

Despite the words “humane society” on its letterhead, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is not affiliated with your local animal shelter. Despite the omnipresent dogs and cats in its fundraising materials, it’s not an organization that runs spay/neuter programs or takes in stray, neglected, and abused pets. And despite the common image of animal protection agencies as cash-strapped organizations dedicated to animal welfare, HSUS has become the wealthiest animal rights organization on earth.
HSUS is big, rich, and powerful, a “humane society” in name only. And while most local animal shelters are under-funded and unsung, HSUS has accumulated $113 million in assets and built a recognizable brand by capitalizing on the confusion its very name provokes. This misdirection results in an irony of which most animal lovers are unaware: HSUS raises enough money to finance animal shelters in every single state, with money to spare, yet it doesn’t operate a single one anywhere. They are a scam…support your local animals shelters….not this horrible groups of wackos