Today HumaneWatch.org, a project of the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), encouraged concerned Americans looking to help animals in the wake of this week’s tornado to give to local central Oklahoma pet shelters over large, national animal groups like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which doesn’t run a single pet shelter.

Americans should be vigilant of groups like HSUS that are now fundraising off of the national tragedy before they have even been deployed to the damaged region. According to a document published by the New York Attorney General, after Hurricane Sandy HSUS raised $1.9 million from well-meaning Americans but only spent 35 percent of the money raised on Sandy relief efforts.

“America’s animal lovers should be giving directly to the local pet shelters in Oklahoma over factory fundraising organizations like the Humane Society of the United States if they want to ensure their donations are going to help animals in the region,” said Will Coggin, CCF’s Senior Research Analyst. “HSUS has a sordid history of raising funds under misleading pretenses.”

In 2007, HSUS raised money with the false promise that it would be used to “care for the dogs seized in the Michael Vick [dogfighting] case.” The New York Times later reported that HSUS was not caring for the animals at all, and HSUS president Wayne Pacelle instead recommended that government officials “put down” all the dogs, many of which were later saved by other organizations. HSUS also raised a reported $34 million in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, funds that were supposed to help reunite lost pets with their owners. But an investigation by WSB-TV in Atlanta found that less than $7 million of this money could be publicly accounted for.

“Local Oklahoma pet groups need all the dollars they can get to reunite animals with their loved ones and provide care for needy animals,” continued Coggin. “To make sure your money goes to the cause you intend, give directly to central Oklahoma shelters to make the most difference.”