Share This Page

Consumer group wants probe of Humane Society ads

| Friday, July 13, 2012, 12:08 a.m.
Valley News Dispatch
JDB 21PitBulDay 1 Animal Protectors veterinary technician Lindsay Joyce holds 4 month old Sitka Rose, a pit bull, at the animal shelter in New Kensington on Wednesday, October 20, 2010. Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch (Intended for VND pub on 10-21-10)

An organization wants attorneys general in Pennsylvania and 11 other states to investigate whether advertisements by the Humane Society of the United States violate laws by implying that money from donors supports animal shelters.

HumaneWatch, a nonprofit project of the Washington-based Center for Consumer Freedom, released a report on Thursday claiming that the Humane Society gives 1 percent or less of its income to local animal shelters, despite ads showing animals in shelters.

“Consistently, there is a disconnect between what they use to raise money and what they spend that money on,” said Justin Wilson, senior research analyst at the Center for Consumer Freedom.

Humane Society of the United States spokeswoman Stephanie Twinings said the Center for Consumer Freedom represents food industry interests in Washington and is more interested in stopping the Humane Society's lobbying efforts than steering more money to shelters.

“This is all just their desperate attempts to pull fundraising away from us because we're effective in getting regulations changed for the food industry,” she said.

Nils Fredricksen, spokesman for Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly, said his office neither confirms nor denies the existence of any investigations, but said Kelly reads and responds to any petition that crosses her desk.

“There is a belief in the public that the Humane Society of the United States is the mothership, so to speak, and that all the local humane societies ... must answer to them. That's not true,” said Gretchen Fieser, spokeswoman for the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society in the North Side.

Local shelters and humane societies are concerned with animal welfare, rather than animal rights, food-industry issues or national campaigns, she said.

“(HSUS) can get better cages for chickens in factory farms,” Fieser said. “When we get chickens, they were someone's pet or a science project that got too big.”

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or msantoni@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.