Calling attention to fundraising practices many organizations contend seem deceptive, HumaneWatch.org is running a full-page ad in USA Today targeting the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

HumaneWatch.org is a project of the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF). According to a Humane Watch press release, the full-page ad in USA Today highlights HSUS’s failure to share its multi-million dollar budget with local hands-on pet shelters. Humane Watch says despite most Americans’ belief to the contrary, HSUS is not a national umbrella group that represents community-based humane societies, and it shares just 1% of its income with underfunded pet shelters at the local level.

The ad features a statement from HSUS President Wayne Pacelle: “We never said we funded animal shelters.” Yet the animal rights group continues to largely rely on the images of sad-looking cats and dogs to tug at the heart strings and the wallets of America’s pet lovers. The ad goes on to explain where HSUS’s money is going, indicating millions of dollars are diverted into its executive pension fund, $32 million stuffed in hedge funds, and for its defense against charges of corruption in federal court.

“HSUS uses emotionally manipulative ads to hook Americans who love pets, yet it gives just one penny of every dollar it raises to local pet shelters,” said CCF Senior Research Analyst J. Justin Wilson. “It’s time Americans realize their hard-earned dollars aren’t going to care for cats and dogs in their communities but to support a huge staff of lawyers and lobbyists, executive pension plans, fundraising expenses, and to bankroll a PETA-like animal rights agenda that attacks modern farming.”

A new HumaneWatch.org report finds HSUS’s direct mail, telemarketing, and television appeals actively perpetuate the misperception that HSUS’s primary focus is to care for abandoned and abused cats and dogs. However, HSUS doesn’t run a single pet shelter and local shelters aren’t seeing much of HSUS’s donations, with several local organizations across America going so far as to change their names in order to prevent donor confusion.

“HSUS knows full well that the American public experiences ‘humane society’ brand confusion, yet it continues to mislead the public with multi-million dollar ad campaigns,” Wilson continued. “With over $200 million in assets, HSUS could clearly afford to live up to its undeserved reputation as a major contributor to local shelters, but it appears to have other motives.”

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