Press Release

Humane Society of the United States Misled Americans With Fundraising Pitch

Washington — Today the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) called on the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to return all the money it has raised in the wake of the Michael Vick dogfighting scandal. CCF revealed today that beginning on July 18 — the day after Vick’s criminal indictment — HSUS promised on its website that financial contributions would be earmarked for helping it “care for the dogs seized in the Michael Vick case.” But yesterday The New York Times reported that HSUS is not, in fact, caring for the animals. And HSUS president Wayne Pacelle told the Times that his group is recommending that government officials “put down” (that is, kill) the dogs rather than adopt them out to suitable homes.

“Like most Americans, we can’t stand dogfighting,” said Center for Consumer Freedom Director of Research David Martosko. “But we also can’t stand animal-rights fundraising that smells this fishy.”

The Humane Society of the United States is not affiliated with any local “humane societies.” Although the organization runs no hands-on dog or cat shelters anywhere, some of its fundraising materials hint at a direct connection with pet rescue operations.

HSUS’s online fundraising pitch related to Michael Vick has now been quietly altered to remove the claim that the group is caring for his pit bulls. But there’s no reliable way to know how much money the group raised on the basis of its earlier promises.

“As usual, HSUS is exploiting Americans’ emotions about dogs to build its war chest for anti-meat, anti-dairy, and anti-medical-research campaigns,” Martosko added. “These predatory activists should return every cent and apologize for misleading the public.”

In a similar episode, HSUS raised a reported $32 million in the wake of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, promising to use the funds to rescue and reunite lost pets with their owners. But since March 2006, Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti’s office has been investigating what happened to the majority of those funds, which HSUS does not appear to have used for Katrina-related rescues.

For more information about the Humane Society of the United States, visit

Founded in 1996, the Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization devoted to promoting personal responsibility and protecting consumer choices. For more information, visit


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