6 Deceptions Spun by the Humane Society of the U.S.

(Wayne Pinocchio gifIf you’d like to see a version with cat and dog GIFs, head over to Buzzfeed: http://bzfd.it/1lIRjBO)

Wayne Pacelle, fat-cat CEO of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), deceives animal lovers in order to line the pockets of his organization. HSUS raises over $100 million a year from the public using ads showing needy dogs and cats, and yet it only gives 1% of that money to pet shelters. HSUS isn’t affiliated with local humane societies, but it benefits from name confusion. HSUS also doesn’t run any pet shelters of its own. Instead, the money HSUS raises is used to fund a radical, PETA-like agenda.

How far does the deception go? Here are six things said by Wayne “Pinocchio” Pacelle.

1: “You can help save the life of one desperate animal right now.”

So says Pacelle in an HSUS ad. But the Humane Society of the United States does not run any pet shelters, and gets a “C-minus” grade from CharityWatch for spending so much of its budget on overhead. That $19-a-month donation that HSUS asks for is too often simply plowed into more fundraising campaigns.

2: “We’ve never said we run animal shelters”

Pacelle uses this excuse when he’s challenged about HSUS’s deceptive practices. It’s a dodge: HSUS certainly implies it runs animal shelters with its ads full of dogs and cats.

3: “[Michael Vick] would do a good job as a pet owner.”

Pacelle said this in 2010 after HSUS had received $50,000 from Vick’s then-employer, the Philadelphia Eagles. Vick had just been released from prison on dogfighting-related charges about 18 months before. Did anyone else in America think that Vick would be a good pet owner?

4: “Our supporters, know exactly what The HSUS does and what we stand for”

Pacelle has admitted “I think there’s occasional confusion with donors.” He can’t have it both ways. Polling shows that most HSUS donors think their money is going to help shelter pets, yet only 1% of the money HSUS raises goes to pet shelters. When informed of this the vast majority of donors think HSUS is misleading.

5: “The HSUS’s program expenses as a percentage of total expenses were 78 percent”

That’s true only by counting direct-mail costs—which add up to tens of millions of dollars—as “program spending” through a misleading accounting practice.

6: “In the end, no donor dollars from The HSUS will go to Feld [Entertainment].”

In May 2014 HSUS, along with co-defendants, settled a racketeering lawsuit for $15.75 million filed by Feld Entertainment over alleged illegal witness payments, bribery, and obstruction of justice. Wayne Pacelle promised HSUS donors that insurance, not their $19-a-month donations, would cover the settlement. There’s one small detail that Pacelle omitted: HSUS was denied insurance and did not have coverage for the settlement. (Donor funds will also be used to cover the increase in HSUS’s future liability insurance premiums.)

Bonus: “I don’t love animals or think they are cute”; “There’s no special bond between me and other animals”; “I don’t want to see another cat or dog born

Actually, these may well be true. Pacelle said these things before he went to work for the “mainstream” HSUS, back in a time when he could freely speak his mind. Now that he has to hide his real agenda since donations (and his $400,000 compensation) are on the line, he has an incentive to be much less open.