A new Times Square billboard appearing at Seventh Avenue and 48th Street highlights the Humane Society of the United States’ (HSUS) deceptive fundraising practices that “scam” the American public into believing that HSUS is the national umbrella group for local humane societies despite lacking any affiliation with these local hands-on shelters. The billboard is sponsored by the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) and encourages New Yorkers to visit HumaneWatch.org, CCF’s website devoted to analyzing HSUS’s activities. A full-page ad for HumaneWatch also appears in today’s edition of USA TODAY.

A photo of the Times Squarebillboard is available here. It reads:

The Humane Society of the United States:

SCAM?

HSUS shares less than 1 percent of your donations with local pet shelters.

This new billboard is part of HumaneWatch’s effort to challenge HSUS to put Americans’ donations to work doing what its members expect: funding the care of pets in shelters. A national poll conducted in February by Opinion Research Corporation found that 59 percent of Americans falsely believe HSUS “contributes most of its money to local organizations that care for dogs and cats.” But in 2008, HSUS shared less than one percent of its income with those needy hands-on pet care facilities.

Advertising messages similar to the Times Square billboard and USA TODAY ad appeared last week in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Variety, and the Washington, DC edition of The Wall Street Journal.

“The Humane Society of the United States is a humane society in name only,” said David Martosko, CCF’s Director of Research and the editor of HumaneWatch.org. “HSUS raised $132 million last year from Americans who thought their donations would filter down to local pet shelters. Instead, all that money supports a huge staff of lawyers and lobbyists, bloated executive pension plans, exorbitant fundraising expenses, and PETA-style propaganda campaigns. Animal lovers should hold the group to a muchhigher standard.”

CCF pledged last week to shut completely down the HumaneWatch.org website if HSUS pledges to give just 50 percent of its income to hands-on pet shelters in the United States.