Federal Trade Commission Complaints Filed Against Humane Society of the United States

Watchdog alleges intentional dissemination of misleading information in HSUS fundraising materials

Would You Give to a Humane Society that Doesn’t Run Any Pet Shelters?
Would You Give to a Humane Society that Doesn’t Run Any Pet Shelters?

Washington D.C. – -(Ammoland.com)- Today, the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) for orchestrating a deceptive advertising campaign. CCF also passed along complaints submitted by 77 donors through its website www.HelpPetShelters.com.

In November 2017, HSUS drove traffic to a web page on its HumaneSociety.org domain that contained false information. On the web page in question, a graphic claimed that only 19 percent of HSUS donations are spent on fundraising. However, HSUS’ Form 990 tax return for 2016, its most recent filing, shows that the organization spends at least 29 percent of its budget on fundraising. Factoring in joint cost expenditures that are allocated to management or program spending, the total fundraising number rises to 52 percent.

(Charities may classify portions of fundraising appeals as “educational” expenses to seem more efficient with donations.)

Despite its name, the Humane Society of the United States is not affiliated with the many humane societies in towns and counties that operate pet shelters.

HSUS does not run a single pet shelter, despite suggesting otherwise in its solicitations to prospective donors. Some (but by no means all) previous advertising had disclosed this fact. In 2014, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt issued a public “consumer alert” concerning donations to HSUS.

You can read CCF’s complaint here: www.humanewatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/FTC_complaint_December_2017.pdf

“Regulators need to stop well-meaning Americans who want to help pets from being ripped off,” said CCF Managing Director Will Coggin. “Donors want to help homeless animals—not wealthy D.C. executives who mislead the public about how their money will be used.”

To learn more about the Humane Society of the United States, visit HumaneWatch.org and HelpPetShelters.com.

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Not only are their ads misleading in terms of how donations to them are distributed, but their most recent ads are insidious in another way – they are falsely educating the public as to what real animal abuse looks like. Yes, you can tell for certain that some of the animals they picture in their TV ads have really been abused – I site the skinny pit bull on the short chain, in the snow, as a genuine example of abuse. But most of the other animals I’m seeing in their most recent ads don’t look terribly abused – they… Read more »

Melissa B

I donated based on their claims. They proved to be sketchy, at best. Yes, their advert is deceptive. Additionally, HSUS “helps” at least 13 various organizations. It’s impossible to properly assist this many causes. Frankly, I couldn’t care less about the other causes; I wanted my donation to assist animals. I don’t care to donate to the others. It’s a scam. I talked to the head of this organization. I demanded my money back, to no avail. I wanted to give it, instead, to the ASPCA. They also run a store, which purports to help animals. Same deal. According to… Read more »

The Rifleman

Yes indeed Mellisa. I hear you and feel your pain. Very despicable would be putting it mildly! I did some checking on this myself, and I discovered pretty much the same as you have about these disgusting organizations. It was all I could do to contain the vomit I felt coming of inside of me as I read these things about them! When I see these commercials with images of these poor suffering animals, it truly breaks my heart.
I sincerely hope these reprobates will be brought to justice and made to pay dearly for this!

siegrid berman

Very interesting. I am one of the many who thought this was an umbrella group for all local humane societies. This will modify my future donations.

Bob Shell

I have been saying for years that this outfit is a fraud. They are a left wing anti-hunting group who does little or nothing for dogs or cats. They use the money to finance their left wing agenda as known don’t have shelters . As a dog lover shame on them for pushing a fraud. There are some great groups out there who deserve our donations as they will take care of the dogs & cats left out in the cold.


As they are not associated with local humane societies, they apparently do not actually board or treat pets locally. What is it that they ACTUALLY do? From this it sounds like “advertise.”

Wild Bill

@DMH, Humane Society of the U S, not to be confused with the real Humane Society and so many other real rescue groups, lobby. HSUS lobbys against hunting, and raising farm animals for food. Always check Charity Navigator or donate to your local animal shelter.


It would seem the feds could, and should, shut them down and prosecute them for taking people’s money and not providing any service for their intended charity.Apparently, they are a scam organization and their only purpose is funding themselves.

The other Jim

Most charities and foundations are frauds (the CEO’s and executives are paid millions, or $100,000’s of thousands per year shaking down the charity). Your attorney general office in your state will usually have a website to go to get the Federal Tax Return 990. Usually it is a year behind (the 2015 tax returns may be up, some 2016). You can see the Executives salaries on the front page combined; but you need to go to the schedules for the break out of salary, benefits, pensions, hours per week, year end bonuses, luxury car paid for by the charity, etc.… Read more »


My wife has called several times to local Humane Societies to report abuse. Everytime she was told they do not handle that to call law enforcement. Not only that, but I have talked to several people that have gone elsewhere to adopt a pet because they are so rude and treat you like you are beneath them. A DDS for pets!

The Rifleman

In those regards, I would suggest going only to “locally owned and operated” pet shelters, and make sure they do not support, or are affiliated in any way, with the Humane Society of the United States! Judging from the article, it sounds like most are not affiliated with them.

The Rifleman

O.M.G.! This absolutely disgusting!! I do hope these corrupt reprobates are exposed, brought to justice, and made to pay very dearly for this! No question about it, this is just plain evil being done under the direction of insatiable monetary whores!


Another liberal organization being funded by people who cant read.
When I read Hillarys approval rating dropped to 36%, that told me one third of the population of the US is outright brain dead. Funding this group confirms those numbers