Consumer Alert: Humane Society of the United States

UPDATE 2/26/2012: More than 100 people have emailed us saying that they have filed a complaint with the FTC.

[Click here to see how little the Humane Society of the United States gives to pet shelters.]

To all who saw our national TV ad (also viewable below), welcome! First, an announcement, and second, we need your help.

Today we’re releasing a new, 2-page report on deceptive TV fundraising of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). With the help of Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG), we were able to analyze every HSUS TV ad that ran between January 2009 and September 2011. What we found was startling.

According to public polling, 71 percent of Americans mistakenly believe that HSUS is a pet-shelter umbrella group and 68 percent wrongly believe that HSUS gives most of its money to pet shelters. There’s a wide gap between perception and reality—and HSUS’s ads help exacerbate it.

More than 85 percent of the animals shown in HSUS ads were dogs and cats. Only 3 of the 28 ads that HSUS ran on television contained a disclaimer that HSUS is independent from local humane societies, and those ads that have a disclaimer didn’t air very often: Less than 100 airings, compared to more than 20,000 airings of ads with no disclaimer. (You can view the full report here.)

Here’s how you can help: Contact the Federal Trade Commission and file a complaint about HSUS’s misleading fundraising. You can do this in just a few, quick steps:FTC Logo

1. Go to the FTC’s Complaint Assistant and fill out your personal information.

2. Under Step 1, when it asks you “What kind of company are you complaining about?,” check “Other” and write in “Deceptive 501(c)(3).”

3. When you offer details about your complaint, if you’ve given money to HSUS and believe that you were deceived by its ads, be sure to say so.

4. Let us know when you’ve filed a complaint (email [email protected]).