130430_HW_LogoWhile Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) President and CEO Wayne Pacelle cavorts with Hollywood celebrities, local shelters desperately try to help homeless pets find homes from dilapidated buildings with leaky roofs. That’s the message of a Fox Nashville report that reminds local donors that money given to HSUS doesn’t necessarily trickle down to local pet shelters.

And you don’t have to take the reporter’s word for it, either. A former director of the Humane Society of Dickson County (local humane societies are not affiliated with HSUS, despite a common misconception) notes the frustration of many sheltering professionals: “In terms of actual cash coming down to the local shelters [from HSUS]…There is none.”

Indeed, the report notes that HSUS’s tax records show that HSUS gave only $1,000 of its $133 million budget to support sheltering in the entire state of Tennessee. Neighboring Kentucky pet shelters received nothing. We did our own analysis and found the percentage of HSUS’s budget given to support sheltering in each state; Kentucky wasn’t the only zero-point-zero.

And even fans of HSUS’s well-produced tear-jerking television commercials acknowledge that they’re just a bit deceptive. An animal control official admitted, “I love the commercials” but also noted, “It gives me more of the impression that they’re helping on a locally communal base.” It’s no surprise then that our research has shown that even self-described HSUS donors are confused about what HSUS actually does.

So if HSUS isn’t funding local pet shelters, what is it doing? Well, HSUS hired a Food Policy Director who ran a campaign comparing chickens to Holocaust victims when he worked for his previous employer, PETA. And HSUS hires lobbyists and lawyers to harass farmers and ban farming practices that the American Veterinary Medical Association finds provide for animal welfare, which inspired our “honest” HSUS ad. Those lawyers are also busy defending  HSUS against a federal racketeering suit.

For the full story on America’s largest, best-funded, and most misunderstood animal liberation group, head on over to our HumaneWatch.org project.