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Watch Out For Fake Charities, Warns The Humane Society

By Kimberly Porter    December 02, 2011 at 11:18AM / (3) comments

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has a warning for tender-hearted Americans getting into the gifting spirit of the holidays: Watch out for Internet scammers playing on your weakness for animal welfare.

During the holiday season, new websites tend to pop up promising to rescue animals in peril. The problem is these sites have no real connection to humane societies or animal shelters.

One such group that was recently created is called the "Humane Society for Shelter Pets," a name the HSUS believes is meant to trick people into associating with The Shelter Pet Project, a legitimate charity. The organization has a slick website, yet lists no street address, is not registered with the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, GuideStar, or any other charity watchdog, and has more than a dozen complaints against it pending before the Federal Trade Commission, according to the HSUS.

"This holiday, the nation’s responsible news media and opinion leaders can help by spreading the word that Richard Berman’s Humane Society for Shelter Pets is the work of a man with no record of helping animals or people – and in fact has a long history of defending puppy mills, seal clubbing, factory farming and other economic interests that jeopardize animals," said the HSUS.

There may be as many as 20,000 groups in the name of animal protection that truly do work for animals and whose donated funds actually go towards the cause. The HSUS urges Americans to be generous this holiday season, but to also be cautious when determining which organizations to donate to.

"Animals deserve far better this holiday and so do the thousands of people who give so much as employees, volunteers and supporters of our many legitimate humane societies, locally and nationally," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. "We encourage everyone to donate to the local animal shelters addressing the symptoms of animal abuse, and also to the national organizations working every day to help those efforts and also to stop the root causes of animal suffering."



Image: Gary Paul Lewis / via Shutterstock

Source: HSUS

Comments  3

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  • Charities
    12/08/2011 06:14am

    It's become so simple to give money over the web or by texting a particular number that this is fertile ground for scammers.

    Hopefully people will pay attention and research a group to assure it's truly what it says it is.

  • Fake? Really?
    12/10/2011 09:38pm

    For HSUS to claim that Humane Society for Shelter Pets is a "fake" animal charity, wow, that is just about the most offensive thing I have heard yet. HSUS tells so many lies, I am not particularly surprised.

    I searched long and hard to find out what this new group HSSP is all about. It is actually the answer to HSUS's own disclaimer that they 'don't claim to support animal shelters'. HSSP does not solicit donations, there is no big 'Donate' button like the one on HSUS's web site. The organization is a resource to direct people who want to make certain their heartfelt donations actually go towards helping real animals in need, rather than lobbying, pricey DC and Hollywood real estate, advertising, employee pensions and big salaries for top level employees - because HSUS puts many times more money into it's executive pension plan than it grants to animal shelters. People are getting fed up, and doing their own investigation. It's never too late. HSUS is a sham, playing on people's emotions to beg for donations that it implies, through it's 'slick web site' and endless TV ads, goes to rescue the dogs and cats that are featured in those ads.

    Check it out for yourself. It might be a good idea to retract this article after you research HSSP - there are many false statements made here, it might prove embarrassing to you. HSSP was founded by a former HSUS program director, Didi Culp, not by Richard Berman. Berman's PR firm donated their time to the launch of this group. More and more Americans are realizing that they have been misled and purposefully confused by the 'fake' name 'humane society' of the United States.

    Wayne Pacelle is not happy with this new group, and that is understandable, as they will clearly have a negative effect on HSUS's bottom line.

    Just read this letter from one of the founders of the new organization: http://www.humaneforpets.com/2011/11/an-introduction-from-hssp-board-president-deborah-price/ Then follow up with your local shelters, see how they feel about this new group, and their ability to direct donations to exactly where they are needed most. As a volunteer myself, I think it is a great thing, very much welcomed by the sheltering community!

    We don't need any more lobbyists, or the countless amicus briefs (basically, lawsuits) that HSUS files each day - what a waste of our donations while shelters struggle to care for the animals in a bad economy.

    As soon as I heard about this group - and realized it met a critical need, I recommended two of my local shelters that I know for sure need much more help. They have never received a single penny from HSUS (although one of them did PAY HSUS nearly $30,000 for a 'shelter evaluation' a couple of years ago), yet regularly hear from people they approach for help that 'we already gave' to the 'humane society' of the United States. Oops, not quite what they thought, was it.

    So as for 'fake' humane societies, I believe that HSUS tops the list. Wayne Pacelle is a con man. He is tripping over his own tongue these days - first of all he defends himself by saying 'we never said we supported shelters' while their ads and their web site says the opposite, and which is actually a lie, which make's Wayne's disclaimer 'not' a lie, I get a headache trying to figure out what is going on, where is the straight answer, anyway? Don't expect that straight answer from HSUS.

    A 'real' charity does not need to write slanderous articles about another charity. This is childish at best, and just plain nasty at worst. I hope HSSP sues the pants off HSUS over this garbage.

  • Proof is coming out
    12/19/2011 10:24pm

    It seems that the proof is coming out on this latest scam. For one, United Way executive Deborah Price who headed the scam HSSP has left HSSP. I wonder way. That is big news, very big. I'll let her tell he own story but I will say this, that tells it also. also, Diana Culp, another employee (of the three) is under investigation at her regular job.

    Read the story on Dec 19, 2011, New York Times for more details.

    These events are not a vicotry for individuals or organizations, they are a victory for the animals. A lot of people were scammed and fooled in this latest attempt to split the animal protection community so big business would benefit. but now that the truth is coming out, maybe now people will figire out what is really going on/