Countless Americans confuse the Humane Society of the United States with their local humane societies, sending donations to HSUS with the belief that it will trickle down to the pet shelters in their own communities.

Unfortunately, it likely won’t. Polling we commissioned shows that 71 percent of Americans mistakenly believe HSUS is a pet-shelter umbrella group, and 59 percent wrongly believe HSUS gives most of its money to groups that care for dogs and cats. HSUS doesn’t run a single pet shelter, but aggressively pursues an animal rights agenda. Most of the public confusion, as you might guess, is driven by its name.

Yesterday, California news outlets reported that the State Humane Association of California, which represents more than 100 animal welfare organizations statewide, filed a formal complaint with the state Attorney General against the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) over the same sort of “humane confusion.” Here’s how the executive director of the State Humane Association of California laid out the issue:

Ever since the ASPCA began to aggressively fundraise several years ago, humane societies and SPCAs throughout the country have suffered. Our member humane societies and SPCAs frequently report hearing from people who gave to the ASPCA believing they were giving to their local shelter. These shelters believe they are missing out on funds that were intended for them.

The parallels to HSUS in this complaint are striking. And in some respects, HSUS’s aggressive fundraising tactics provide an even more egregious example.

Just as the ASPCA is not affiliated with individual SPCAs, HSUS shares no affiliation with community-based humane societies in California—or anywhere else, for that matter.

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