A new survey of 1,000 self-identified donors to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) reveals that 90 percent were unaware that the organization gives just 1 percent of its budget to local pet shelters, according to HSUS watchdog group HumaneWatch.org

The fact came as a surprise to many, with 74 percent reporting that their primary reasons for donating to the animal rights group was the belief that their money would go to help pet shelters or reduce the number of animals euthanized every year.

“The Humane Society of the United States intentionally uses manipulative ads to raise money on the backs of abandoned and abused dogs and cats, yet it gives just one penny of each dollar it raises to local pet shelters,” said J. Justin Wilson, senior research analyst for nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF.)

After learning that the HSUS did not spend a majority of its funds assisting local hands-on pet shelters, 80 percent of those HSUS donors polled believed the group engaged in deceptive fundraising practices, with nearly 50 percent reporting they are now less likely to support the group, according to HumaneWatch.

“This evidence should leave no doubt that HSUS relies on misconception that it’s a real humane society,” according to a HumaneWatch blog. “Most Americans and most HSUS donors believe that HSUS is mostly about supporting pet shelters.”  To eliminate HSUS’ misconception, they “could simply change its name, replacing “Humane Society” with something more appropriate such as the “Vegan Lawyers and Lobbyists Society,” according to the blog.

“Think of how many more abandoned and abused pets could be saved if HSUS donors knew to give to their local shelter directly,” Wilson added. “HSUS actively participates in duplicitous fundraising practices, using its classic bait-and-switch manipulation—reeling people in with pictures of sad puppies and kitties, while funneling their donations to a radical animal rights philosophy.”

For a copy of the complete poll, visit HumaneWatch.org.