Today the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) pointed to the 2010 “Watchdog Report” from Animal People News, which determined the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) spends 50 cents of every donated dollar on continued fundraising and additional overhead costs. HSUS has a holiday fundraising goal of $1.2 million, of which a staggering $600,000 will likely go to raise more money, pay lobbyists, and fund HSUS’s $11 million pension plan. HSUS’s skewed spending priorities leave countless shelters without funds in today’s tough economy.

Animal People News, the well-regarded newspaper of the animal rights movement, studied HSUS’s 2009 federal income tax return and determined that 50% of HSUS costs were “overhead,” not 29% as HSUS claims.  CCF’s own analysis of HSUS’s recent tax filings indicates that HSUS shares less than one percent of the public’s contributions with America’s underfunded pet shelters.

“The holidays are all about giving but HSUS seems more interested in taking, keeping, and wasting,” said David Martosko, CCF’s Director of Research. “Homeless dogs and cats deserve better. Americans should support their local humane societies which are far more efficient with each precious dollar.”

In addition to the Animal People News report, HSUS received a “D” rating in the American Institute of Philanthropy’s most recent quarterly “CharityWatch” guide. And Charity Navigator now gives HSUS one star (out of four) for organizational efficiency.

These near-failing grades are a consequence of HSUS’s factory-fundraising practices and incompetent nonprofit management. The Los Angeles Times reports that of the $8.6 million HSUS raised through California telemarketing campaigns between 1997 and 2006, only $976,000 made it to HSUS. And HSUS’s most recent tax return shows that the group spent an exorbitant $3,999 for each animal its “rescue operations” saved.

Martosko added, “Animal lovers need to know the difference between HSUS and real humane societies. The only way to be sure your donations will help homeless dogs and cats is to give to organizations in your own community.”