While the Humane Society of the United States is a private organization, its tax returns are required to be public, according to HSUS watchdog group HumaneWatch.com. HumaneWatch obtained a copy of HSUS’s 2010 tax return which reveals the group gives less than 1 percent of its budget to pet shelters.
In addition, the tax return shows that HSUS contributes more to its pension plan than it gives to needy shelters, according to HumaneWatch. (See HSUS tax returns.)
The organization's tax returns show other startling discoveries, including that the group puts more money into lobbying than it does pet-shelter grants, said the watchdog group in a news release.
Other facts uncovered by the HSUS tax return reveal a group far more concerned with fundraising, lobbying efforts and funding of its pension plan over support of animal shelters. According to HumaneWatch.com:
- HSUS’s pet-shelter grants totaled just $528,676, or 0.418 percent of HSUS’s budget.
- HSUS spent $47 million on fundraising-related costs, or about 37 percent of the organization’s budget.
- HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle’s total compensation package was $287,786, up roughly 7 percent from the previous year.
- HSUS funded its pension plan with $2.6 million, bringing the total since Pacelle took over to about $14 million.
- HSUS spent $3.6 million on lobbying.
- HSUS had 636 employees, including 29 who earned more than $100,000.
- HSUS’s contribution/grant revenue increased by $34 million. This was boosted by a $12-million increase in noncash contributions (e.g. free ads) and a $11.7 million grant from a single donor.
- HSUS’s “All Animals” magazine had a circulation of about 450,000. That’s a good estimate of HSUS’s true membership size (versus the 11 million HSUS reports when they are on Capitol Hill), since the magazine is included with a $25 membership.
- HSUS’s “Kind News” magazine reached 644,000 kindergarten to 6th grade students.
According to HumaneWatch, HSUS spends almost 90 times more on fundraising than it spends on pet-shelter grants.
In 2009, four-fifths of 1 percent of HSUS’s budget went to pet-shelter grants, according to the watchdog group. For 2010, the amount is about half of that and may even be the lowest percentage ever.