Why Won’t HSUS Do This for Free?

In December The Dallas Morning News reported that HSUS would be performing an "independent review" of the municipal animal shelter run by the city of Dallas:

Assistant City Manager Forest Turner, who oversees the animal services department, said he welcomes the review as an opportunity to learn what the city is doing right and where it can improve.

"We're encouraged by the fact somebody would come in and evaluate the operations and give us recommendations," he said.

The $25,000 cost of the review will be covered by the Metroplex Animal Coalition and not City Hall.

This expensive report card is moving forward. HSUS is already soliciting comments from people who have experiences with the Dallas Animal Services apparatus.

But it's that third paragraph above that gets us. HSUS expects animal shelters to pay $25,000 for an assessment of their operations? Shouldn't that be something HSUS does as part of its own operations?

There are just so many things wrong with this.

HSUS is super-rich. It's sitting on $162 million in assets. The group is usually happy to spend money reinforcing the widely-believed public illusion that it's an umbrella group for local humane societies.

Dallas' Metroplex Animal Coalition (MAC), by comparison, is made up of 50 small groups, many of which don't have two nickels to rub together. But what MAC does have is someone from HSUS on its Advisory Board. That would be Lou Guyton, HSUS's Southwest Regional Director.

And MAC's Secretary/Treasurer, Skip Trimble, is on the Host Committee for an upcoming HSUS fundraising gala in Dallas.

Trimble is the ultimate Dallas animal-activist gadfly:

  • Retired Board Member, Animal Legal Defense Fund
  • Retired Board Member, Animal Protection Institute
  • Secretary/Treasurer of the Texas Humane Legislation Network
  • Co-founder, Texas State Bar Association Animal Law Section
  • Big-bucks donor to HSUS's "Humane USA" Political Action Committee
  • and an activist award from PETA just to round it out.

Skip Trimble was also the Chairman of the Dallas Animal Shelter Commission until recently. Hey, wait a minute! That's the same city commission that awarded the $25,000 contract to HSUS.

It sure looks to us like Skip Trimble used chairmanship on a city board to steer a lucrative contract to his friends at HSUS—a contract that HSUS is wealthy enough to fulfill (and should) at no cost. And then he helped organize a Dallas gala to raise even more money for HSUS. So HSUS won't just break even on this deal. It's going to make money.

It's too bad that when actual animals are on the line, an HSUS price list suddenly appears. But it may work out okay for Skip. We hear he's gunning for next year's HSUS Lifetime Achievement Award.