by Ali Berman
Categories: Animals, Causes
Tags: .
Photo: Flickr/FurLined

Earlier today we received a cease and desist letter concerning this article. We are choosing to honor the request while our lawyers look over the information and determine how best to proceed.

I do want to correct one immediate error. I wrote, “Berman says that HSUS doesn’t give any money to shelter animals…” That statement is incorrect. Berman has said instead that “roughly 1 percent of HSUS’s budget is given to pet shelters.”

Berman also posted a rebuttal to Wayne Pacelle’s claims on his website. You can read his side of the story here.

About Ali Berman

Ali Berman is the author of Choosing a Good Life: Lessons from People Who Have Found Their Place in the World (Hazelden) and Misdirected (Seven Stories Press). She works as a humane educator for HEART teaching kids about issues affecting people, animals and the environment. Her published work can be found on her website at In early 2012 Ali co-founded flipmeover, a production company with the mission to use media to raise awareness of social issues.

View all posts by Ali Berman →
  • Shelley Powers

    Excellent, and well said.

    We also know that the funding for this new…urh…”enterprise” comes from the “pet industry”.

    The same pet industry that brings us large scale commercial dog breeders.

    Puppy mills.

    • Anonymous

      give locally.. not to HSUS and groups that take your money and you never see it used in your area

  • Deborah Hutchison

    This is so sad. Thank you for covering this story.

  • Shelley Powers

    So they didn’t help 700+ cats rescued from a Florida hoarder a few months back?

    They didn’t help a 100 malamutes rescued from a bad breeder in Montana?

    They didn’t help at the various floods and tornadoes this year?

    They didn’t help bring about an agreement from egg producers to move their chickens from battery cages to roomy community systems?

    They haven’t worked against confined hunts, and against private ownership of wild animals in the country?

    They haven’t advocated against puppy mills, or investigated bad puppy and kitten mills, or the worst of roadside zoos?

    So you’re saying they haven’t done any of these things.

    Why don’t we cut through the playing and the back and forth, and all of us just acknowledge it’s because of HSUS success that it’s receiving so much pushback.

    If HSUS didn’t do anything, Berman wouldn’t care about the organization. In fact, if everything that Berman claims about HSUS were true, I would hazard a pretty darn good guess that you wouldn’t have a HumaneWatch. Or an HSSP, either.

    • Anonymous

      well they HSUS sure helped the Alabama 44 ..right into the gas chamber..sure “helped Fay ( not Faye) after being coerced and shamed by giving a measly 5,000 dollars AFTER they were found to be lying about who actually had the dog.. Sure “helped” kill MANY 6 week old puppies in North Carolina by testifying that they would grow up to be “too mean to live” sure “helped” the VICK DOGS AFTER LYING ABOUT WHERE THEY WERE ( NOT WITH THE HSUS).and calling for all of them to be KILLED. one thing they sure helped themselves too?? the 50,000 dollars of blood money the Eagles “donated’ to them to keep Vick in the spotlight.. with that king of help who needs REAL HELP.. shelters do.. and the HSSP ( no matter who funds it) ONLY ASKS FOR DIRECT DONATIONS.. not for $20.12 PER MONTH (heck they will even take it straight out of your bank account.. or credit card) slimy practices make for expose’s like HSSP. so tell me.. what is wrong with asking people to donate directly to shelters.. do you find that offensive.. that donations are directly given to the shelter.. with no middle man doling the money out like Scrooge..43 million is FIVE years. to the thousands of shelters across the USA?? measly and miserly that is what the HSUS is..
      You may not like Berman.. but you MUST like the idea that giving directly to shelters is a GREAT THING TO DO
      GIve Locally.. think globally.. Friends DO NOT LET Friends Donate to the HSUS

      • Shelley Powers


        You can’t keep bringing up one act, like it’s the only proof you need–completely discounting all the thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of other acts.

        Michael Vick is over and done with. He served time in prison, he lost a lot of credibility, but he ended up going to play in Philadelphia–at which point, he stopped advocating against dog fighting. Vick is self-serving, cold, despicable, and the HSUS made, in my opinion, a mistake to be seen with him.

        However, I know why HSUS did appear with him: they hoped he would provide a role model for the too many urban kids who think dog fighting is cool. Companies like Nike and game developers have been promoting this “killer dog” image for years–Vick could have been a voice against it.

        HSUS has been advocating against dog fighting for decades, and you want to focus on about one minute of time during all of that — sorry, but any rational, thinking person is going to think that you have a problem with perspective.

        HSUS worked its behind off to try and help get Proposition B passed in my state. Proposition B would have made a real dent in the puppy mills that plague my state. It passed, but then agribusiness dominated interests influenced the legislature and the Governor into “weakening” the bill.

        But I’ll never forget how hard HSUS worked for this bill. And against all puppy, kitten, bunny mills, and all the other animal advocacy it does.

      • Anonymous

        ONE.. can you count Shelly.. what about Fay?? what about the Alabama 44? do you even know about these atrocities perpetuated by the HSUS. Vick is hardly. “over and done with” The HSUS would love to shove that bad piece of press to the rear, especially the part where they claimed to HAVE VICKS dogs and raised millions until they were caught with their proverbial pants down and had to change their pitch to ‘dog like Vicks” and even then called for the killing of Vicks dogs.. straight from Pacelles mouth. Did you follow the North Carolina case where six week old puppies were put to death? the HSUS “advocated’ for those “fighting dogs’ to be killed too, because of what they “might become”
        Yes I want to focus on one minute of time but gee there are so many other “minutes in time” to focus on that the clock just keeps on ticking.
        as for Prop B if you call spending MILLIONS of donor dollars that most people, think goes to shelters working your “behind off’ then so be it.. talk about focusing on “one minute”.. Prop B is finished. dead . done. over.. if you really an thig to be better in your state.. use the TIP line.. does HSUS fund that?? I think not
        meanwhile I will ask again.. what is wrong with directing people straight to shelters to donate their hard earned money? Is there something evil about that?/ if there is then the HSUS must be collusion with that evil as they sometimes say donate to your local shelter..

      • George Baumann

        Way to go, “fearnot”. I salute you.

      • Anonymous

        yup and in those “decades they have called for the killing of any dog caught in a fight ring..kill the victims.. that is what the HSUS wants..good thing cooler heads prevail and many “fight dogs” are now saved and are good pets for people .. no thanks to the HSUS who called for them all to be killed..

  • Shelley Powers

    If he wanted people to donate to local shelters, why don’t his ads feature a prominent message of donate to the local shelters. No, the ads prominently feature a quote from the HSUS, and focus on getting people NOT to donate to the HSUS.

    Want to know a national organization that helps shelters? Pet Finder has done a whole lot more for local shelters than this HSSP every will–and it doesn’t need to slam HSUS or other national organizations in order to do so.

    If the focus was really on the shelters, the ads should have featured the shelters.

    • Anonymous

      the ads do say donate locally.. unlike the hsus ads that use puppies and kitties to try to convince people that they help shelters.. they dont..

  • Anonymous

    interesting.. my first post sailed through.. my last one.. has to be ‘moderated’.. funny thing that censorship…

  • George Baumann

    The HSUS lobbies against no-kill sheltering, and charges shelters for consultations in which they urge them to kill animals when any mandatory holding period expires. That should clue you in immediately. The HSUS asked the judge in the Vick case to kill all the dogs, even the puppies, while they fundraised off the backs of dogs they never possessed and never intended to help. Didi Culp is the founder of the Humane Society for Shelter Pets, and her organization was started a couple of years ago. If CCF and Berman decided to donate time and money to support her group, then bully for them! As a former employee of the grossly misnomered “Humane” Society of the US, Ms Culp fully understands the fraud and deception under which the HSUS fundraises. The overwhelming majority of Americans believe that their donations to HSUS go to help shelter pets. Instead, the HSUS uses those donations for salaries, pensions, fundraising efforts and excessive lobbying for anti-animal ownership legislation. The naive public does not realize that less than 1% of the money donated to HSUS is used for any hands-on care of shelter pets. Thank goodness their deceptive practices are being exposed. If you want to help shelter pets, give to your local shelter. If you want to promote a meatless, vegan, petless society, then donate to the HSUS. The HSUS lobbies excessively in every state in the union. This excessive lobbying activity violates the legal boundaries of their tax-free charity status.
    By the way, the millions spent in 5 years that you are so impressed with… less than 1% of the vast amounts of cash that the HSUS fraudulently raises from mostly unsuspecting donors.

    • Anonymous

      back at cha George.. thanks for getting the word out
      Friends do NOT let Friends donate to the HSUS

    • Shelley Powers


      Provide one link to prove your statement that “HSUS lobbies against no-kill shelters”.

      Didi Culp used to work for HSUS, and from her activities after leaving the group, one gets a strong impression that the leaving was acrimonious, and she has an ax to grind. Kind of stupid on her part–she’s only burning her bridges in the animal welfare industry.

      • Anonymous

        she is building bridges with those who know the truth Go Didi.. when the “whistleblowing” is in your ear it does not sound so great eh HSUS

  • Anonymous

    “Not one penny. We receive nothing from them, and the amount of money they get nationally and don’t share with needy shelters like ours is a shame.”
    –Roseann Trezza, Executive Director of the Associated Humane Societies (on News 12 New Jersey)

    “We often hear, ‘We gave to the national organization.’ It’s frustrating. I’d appreciate it if they didn’t do direct-mail [fundraising] pieces here.”
    –Lynae Gieseke, executive director of the Minnesota Valley Humane Society, in the Star Tribune

    “[People think] that if they give to the national organization that somehow the local organization is benefitting. That’s completely false. There’s no money whatsoever. We have never received one dime from the HSUS.”
    – Raynette Mayer, Central Savannah River Area Humane Society volunteer (Georgia)

    “We hear it all the time, ‘But I already gave to the Humane Society.’ They think they are helping the shelter here, but they don’t understand that money doesn’t come locally.”
    –Donna Clark, Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association executive director (West Virginia)

    what shelters say about the HSUS…

    • Shelley Powers

      There are over 3500 shelters in the country, and you think quoting from the directors of a few makes any kind of point? Even then, this issue isn’t a problem with HSUS–it’s a problem with the use of terms such as “humane society”–and HSUS has been around longer than many of these shelters.

      So, some of the shelters haven’t received funds. Fine. But I imagine most of these shelters haven’t given any funds to help in the fight against puppy mills, or against ill treatment of livestock, or to prevent confined hunts. That’s also fine, too — each organization has its own separate functionality.

      • Anonymous

        thanks for that stat .. it helps a lot.. 3500 shelters and the HSUS “gave” 45 million over five years so that is 9 million per year that pans out to a measly 2571 dollars per year.out of a budget ot 135 million PER YEAR… and many shelters get a fat ZERO as you can see by the above.. Shelly if you want more.. i can give you more but really to say the shelters have to give to the HSUS in order to get funds seem rather.. well uncharitable.. no? where in the world would shleters get funds to GIVE to the HSUS? backward thinking

  • Shelley Powers

    You realize that this story has nothing to do with PETA, don’t you?

    • Anonymous

      connect the dots.. many and I mean MANY current HSUS employes were PETA operative before working at HSUS

  • Shelley Powers

    If the group was more concerned about local shelters, then why aren’t the ads focused on local shelters? Instead, most of the ad space is used to attack HSUS.

    No, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…it’s a duck.

  • Shelley Powers

    For one, that “poll” was paid for by Berman, and I take it with a grain of salt.

    And the use of the term “humane society” confuses people both ways–HSUS gets blamed when people are peeved at local shelters.

    It really is up to to people to become informed. If they want their money to go to a local shelter, donate to the shelter. If they’re also interested in fighting for animal welfare–all animals–then they should consider donating to the national organizations, such as HSUS.

    It’s not brain science–all you need to do is be able to read.

  • Shelley Powers

    Yes, the agribusiness interests would love that HSUS give all its money to local shelters–and stop fighting for better care for livestock and against puppy mills and terrible roadside zoos.

    Yes, that’s the plan. That will show the world that HSUS cares about animals–when it stops fighting for the animals.

  • Shelley Powers

    I would hazard a guess that many of the commenters commenting anonymously are paid by Berman et al. We had this problem when fighting for Proposition B: stories would get blitzed by commenters, all writing anonymously, all pretending to be veterinarians or shelter workers, all saying how Prop B was bad–and when you asked if they were paid to write comments, absolute silence.

  • Shelley Powers

    Pet Finder has been providing help for people to find shelter pets and it’s associated with several thousand shelters–not the handful at HSSP.

    And Pet Finder manages to help without having to blast HSUS or put out ads for a quarter million dollars. Fancy that.

  • Anonymous

    A recent investigation by Capital Press revealed that in 2010, HSUS gave
    grants worth $338,655 to animal shelters, less than one-quarter of the $1.7
    million it gave to ballot measure campaigns in Missouri and Arizona. Last
    year alone, HSUS received contributions and grants of $131.2 million,
    placing it among the 200 richest charities in the country, according to
    Forbes magazine.
    The Humane Society of the U.S. has also spent $36 million in the past 11
    years on lobbying and political campaigns. It spent $6.2 million on state
    ballot initiatives in 18 states, i…


  • Anonymous

    “There is no humane society in the sky; there is no big brother, you are your own entity, all of us are volunteers. We operate with donations and fundraisers and that’s where our money comes from.”
    –Shirley Jarmon, Humane Society of Faulkner County (on KARK Arkansas)