Last week, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) published an article online profiling the work of a 12-year-old girl in northeast Ohio, Harley Helman, who has collected thousands of supplies for local shelters near her. Is HSUS so tone-deaf that it doesn’t understand the irony of this article?
HSUS notes that this young lady has collected “3,000 blankets, sheets, quilts, towels, pet toys, supplies, and pet food” through her Blankets Fur Beasties group. That’s great work. And it would be nice if HSUS had such a good record.
Only 1 penny of every dollar donated to HSUS is given to a local pet shelter, according to its tax return. The nonprofit watchdog CharityWatch finds that HSUS spends as much as 45 percent of its budget on overhead costs, earning it a “C-minus” grade. Animal People’s Watchdog Report pegs HSUS’s overhead spending at 55 percent of its budget. For a group that has a budget well over $100 million, that adds up to tens of millions in wasteful spending. As for Ohio specifically, our analysis of HSUS’s tax return found that HSUS gave just $500 to support pet sheltering in the Buckeye State in 2012.
HSUS states, “If you would like to help shelter animals in your area, Harley has this advice: ‘It’s simple! Just go to [your local animal shelter’s] website. They usually have a wish list of things that they need.’ Then start collecting!”
That’s good advice—something we’d pass on to all HSUS donors, who already think their donations are largely going to help local shelters. It’s so simple a 12-year-old gets it.