HSUS: Doing All It Reasonably Can to Railroad Small Shelters in Need

HSUS spends $24 million on fundraising here, $450,000 on a useless law there, all while appealing to donors on behalf of puppies and kittens in need.

But when a shelter in Montana became overfilled with actual puppies and kittens in need HSUS could only spare $10,000 in cash and another $10,000 in volunteer work:

The Humane Society is sometimes criticized for helping to shut down shelters, rather than giving them money for improvements, but [HSUS staffer Dave] Pauli said the HSUS did all it reasonably could for the Eastern Montana Humane Society.

All it reasonably could.  Has anyone at HSUS taken a look at their checkbook lately?  They have an annual operating budget of $100 million.

Pauli said the HSUS got more involved than usual in the Baker shelter because it was the only one between Miles City and the Dakotas.

“We really wanted to see a functional humane society in Eastern Montana,” he said.

And by “really”, apparently HSUS meant “so long as it doesn’t take a penny more than $10,000 out of our account”.  The shelter is now closed.  Rather than investing in fixing up the shelter so it could remain open, HSUS helped sheriff’s deputies remove the 103 pets to the county fairgrounds.  The animals were then dispersed to other shelters in the region.

The inspection that led to the shutdown was performed a month prior by the state director for HSUS in MT as well as a vet:

Conditions “were found to be unacceptable,” [attorney Rich Batterman] said, and the shelter was given time to deal with the deficiencies.

“They were not successful,” he said, and his office obtained search warrants, which were served on Monday.

Lisa Crow, the person in charge of the shelter, tells her side of the story:

“The population of animals became pretty overwhelming,” she said. “We couldn’t become totally sanitized. We did the best we could with what we had.”

After the inspection a month ago, Crow said, she was under the impression that Wendy Hergenraeder, the state director for the Humane Society, would get back to her with suggestions for improving the shelter.

“I never heard from her until they raided my property yesterday,” she said.

Her tale gets worse:

Crow said she agreed to give the county custody of the animals after she was told that no animal-cruelty charges would be filed if she did so. Later Monday, she said, she was asked to sign another document, agreeing that she wouldn’t have any contact with animals for two years.

She said she refused to sign that because she thought the animals were being seized in order to give her time to make improvements at the shelter.

Wow.  If her version of events is accurate, this is some first class HSUS strong arming of the little guy.  (Of course, we’ve heard similar stories in the past.)

Without the shelter, Crow said, Fallon County has no other resources for dealing with stray and abandoned pets. In the past, she said, city police officers routinely shot stray dogs and cats and tossed them in the garbage.

“We had animals being shot in the head every day because there’s no place for them,” she said.

Sorry but HSUS did all they reasonably could to help.  You’ll just have to go back to the shoot-em-in-the-head-and-toss-em-in-the-garbage system of “sheltering”.

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18 Comments

  1. What would be your suggestion for HSUS? Fund every dog and cat shelter that fails itself and the animals? That’s a little unreasonable. HSUS is more of a big-picture organization, not a “save every single dog/cat shelter that can’t maintain itelf” type of group.

    Not saying what they did doesn’t suck, but it’s not like HSUS is at fault for the failure of this shelter. The shelter and community at large is.

    Reply
    • Well I have lots of suggestions for HSUS regarding shelters but in the interest of space, I’ll limit them to:
      *Don’t send in your state rep to “inspect” a shelter under false pretenses (if the shelter president’s story is true)
      *If you say you truly want to see the shelter stay operational, put your vast financial resources where your mouth is.
      *Don’t threaten people with cruelty charges in order to steal their animals

      Reply
      • That’s fair.

        I still don’t believe HSUS is at fault. We all have choices to make in our community at the non-profit and legislative level. We can choose to create shelters that work right by putting the right people in charge, or we can blame someone else. I don’t think we can continually blame HSUS for the fundamental faultiness of a shelter.

  2. Alan

     /  August 8, 2010

    Another quote from the article is:

    “People are sometimes confused when shelters not affiliated with the HSUS use “humane society” in their names, but Pauli said the name is not copyrighted.”

    What revisionism! The HSUS was formed in 1954, while the Detroit Humane Society (to select one example at random) was formed in 1910. Who stole whose name here, fella?

    Reply
  3. When a shelter fails, we ALL fail!
    My suggestion for HSUS would be to lead, follow, or get out of the way. They do none of these things!

    They could have communicated more/better with shelter management. They could have used some of their money and political influence to advertise to the rescue world and local community about the needs of this shelter.

    A caring HSUS individual could have posted a few photos of animals in need on their Facebook page.

    They could fund a free spay/neuter clinic so there would be fewer animals at large to deal with.

    But no. HSUS charges $25K to tell a shelter what they are doing wrong (year after year after year.) And then they budget $10K to give to a shelter that is really in trouble and allow them only a few months to change the world.

    HSUS’s big picture is about money and control. Not about saving animals.

    Reply
  4. This was ritual humiliation.

    Reply
  5. mary frances

     /  August 9, 2010

    HSUS sent me a calendar recently – its been years since I sent them a donation – Sent a check for the Katrina rescues – then I learned what they really are about – this post reaffirms what heartless phonies they are –

    Sent the calendar back days ago with a note stating never to ask me for more money.

    Reply
  6. Lotta D

     /  August 9, 2010

    If HSUS supplied every state with funding for free, or low cost, spay neuter of pets every year, or as a supplementation of local funds raised for that service, their ‘huge problem’ would vanish.
    How’s that for a big picture? Their money could actually do something worthwhile!
    My state and others nearby started that 20 or so years ago and now we are the dumping ground for other area’s unwanted pets. We can’t do all the animals people want to have altered every year but we try our best with great success.
    Even if they helped fund just one shelter in an area that offered low cost s/n to a portion of the state that could start a ‘revolution’ as other shelters followed to keep up their images.
    Why doesn’t HSUS work at solutions, and do things for real animals that need help, instead of working to defraud the public to accumulate a fortune and to make headlines and continually support anti animal laws and actions?

    Reply
  7. Tina T.

     /  August 16, 2010

    Glad to see more & more truth about the farce that is HSUS coming out. $25,000 to evaluate shelters but $10,000 is all they can contribute to keep this desperately needed shelter open ? As much money that they spend on lobbying for chickens & pigs etc. & shooting dogs in the head to dispose of them is ok with them ?

    Reply
  8. Clare

     /  August 17, 2010

    (please delete last post for typos!) – thanks moderator.

    Don’t even get me started on the HSUS – we all remember poor Fay the Pitbull! (and for those that do not read my piece about her here)

    http://www.facebook.com/notes.php?id=659543369#!/note.php?note_id=239337699536

    Reply
  9. Lisa

     /  August 17, 2010

    Lotta D – I LOVE YOU!! You nailed it, sweetie.

    I transferred my support from HSUS to ASPCA after their absysmal handling of the Michael Vick dogs.

    Reply
  10. People donate to the HSUS thinking that the HSUS is some kind of umbrella organization that helps local shelters.

    Reply
  11. Chris

     /  August 18, 2010

    I work with a foundation that helps 40 different rescues and shelters. Our annual budget is less than $24K though we work with other agencies to get thousands of animals adopted each year. We don’t even have enough in our bank account to cover our budget for the next year, but the local Humane Society & SPCA has MILLIONS in their investment accounts, with a number of 6-figure salaries on the payroll. All the big donors, like Copley/Croc/Pickens, throw more and more money at these huge agencies, because of their connections, when there are small, broke rescues that we work with who adopt more animals in a year than the local Humane Society. It’s outrageous. My advice, volunteer for an agency and see how they operate for a few months before throwing your money at them…you’ll be astonished at how MUCH the little agencies do with no money, and how LITTLE the big agencies do with all the money!

    Reply
  12. alice in LALA land

     /  August 19, 2010

    Lisa.. sorry the ASPCA is in bed with the HSUS.. together they support msn and anti pet laws..your dollars would be better spent giving to your local shelter.. ( my opinion only)

    Lotta D says:
    “Why doesn’t HSUS work at solutions, and do things for real animals that need help, instead of working to defraud the public to accumulate a fortune and to make headlines and continually support anti animal laws and actions?”

    Because my dear.. that is where the MONEY and POWER are.. they care nothing for animals

    Reply
  13. mary frances

     /  August 19, 2010

    Chris your comment…”you’ll be astonished at how MUCH the little agencies do with no money, and how LITTLE the big agencies do with all the money!”

    so sad but so true…

    and alice in LALA land – good comments as well.

    Reply
  14. bsanchin

     /  November 28, 2010

    All spurious attacks against the HSUS originate from Rick Berman. Rick Berman founded and runs a trio of shadowy tax-exempt food, tobacco, and beverage industry front groups. For a hefty fee, these nonprofit organizations hire Berman as executive director. Berman then uses his own privately owned public relations company to do work for the nonprofit organization. In this way, Berman channels between 49 and 79 percent of the donations given to these nonprofit groups into his own pocket. In 1998, this amounted to more than $1 million for just one of these groups. You are working for free to help line the pockets of a scam artist by spreading his propaganda.

    Reply
    • Therese

       /  November 29, 2010

      All complaints about the HSUS are not spurious, not are they “all” from the desk of Rick Berman. I have been a vocal critic of HSUS for a couple of decades, long before the widespread use of the internet and long before I ever heard of Rick Berman. I came to that conclusion based on what I was seeing and reading about HSUS and my own experience with them.

      What I am freakin’ tired of is HSUS supporters using the same illogical argument that because they don’t like Rick Berman, the HSUS is without fault. All one needs to do is a little honest research and it’s easy to find MUCH to question about how HSUS raises money, what they actually do with animals they seize, and their radical animal rights agenda, among other issues.

      Reply
  15. Matt

     /  November 29, 2010

    The HSUS is irrefutably guilty of recommending that shelters and rescue groups kill cats and dogs, instead of saving them.

    Time and again, they have supported euthanasia (murder) in cases of healthy pets, and no HSUS apologist can change that fact.

    How INhumane of them.

    Reply

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