We've all seen those horribly sad commercials for the ASPCA, with the sad dogs and cats, while Sarah McLachlan tugs your heart strings in the background.
What people may not realize is that, SPCA's are completely independent non-profits, with no umbrella agency, a press release explains. The ASPCA is New York City's, so if a person in San Francisco sees the heart-wrenching commercial, sends some cash to the phone number listed, he or she is sending money to dogs and cats in New York, not in San Francisco, and the State Humane Association of California is filing a complaint against, what they say, are misleading commercials.
The complaint alleges that ASPCA's unfair and deceptive fundraising practices harm local humane societies and SPCAs by capitalizing on and reinforcing the widely-held mistaken belief that the ASPCA is a parent or umbrella organization to the thousands of humane societies and SPCAs across the country.
"Ever since the ASPCA began to aggressively fundraise several years ago, humane societies and SPCAs throughout the country have suffered," explained Erica Gaudet Hughes, Executive Director of the State Humane Association of California. "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."
We reached the ASPCA for their response. They issued this statement:
"While we have not been served with a complaint, based on the press release we believe this claim is baseless and completely without merit. The ASPCA is a national organization dedicated to helping animals wherever there is a need. Animal welfare supporters are happy that we aid local communities, offer field investigation and recovery services and provide critical life-saving programs all around the country. In 2010, the ASPCA gave over 600 grants totaling nearly $7 million for animal welfare and anti-cruelty assistance in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the District of Columbia. In California, the ASPCA's average grant total per year for the past four years will be nearly $1 million by the end of 2011. And, the organization has pledged $250,000 in grants in 2011 to animal shelters and rescue groups in the Los Angeles-area with funding aimed at saving the lives of animals in the Los Angeles community. If a shelter or community is in need of animal welfare resources, disaster relief or anti-cruelty assistance, we stand ready to provide rescue support or aid."
Another option for animal lovers is to donate directly to your favorite shelter.