Those Tear-jerking Pleas for funds

Those Tear-jerking Pleas for funds

By Flo C. Blake

For the Independent


“Just 63 cents a day,” the TV ads say “can make a difference in the life of an abused animal.” In the background they show a trembling pooch, sometimes standing on snow. I wondered about the organization making the plea.

I’ve lived in four U.S. States—N.J., NY, Texas, and Oregon. No matter where I’ve dwelt, there’s been at least one local animal shelter, plus a humane organization that rescued stray dogs and cats, then offered them for adoption. Locally, a few families even rescue abandoned horses. Then there’s Sanctuary One which also rehabilitates harder-to-place farm-type animals, including goats and pigs.

So why give donations to an apparently national one? I did a Google search regarding A.S.P.C.A., and came up with some startling surprises. Apparently, it isn’t a national “parent company” to local Humane or critter-saving entities. Based in New York, it raises many millions through its “staged,” pathetic commercials, but spends a tiny fraction on helping animals. I’ve inserted some excerpts below quoting findings and research exposing the ASPCA’s true colors.

The ASPCA kills animals. It’s one thing for a local pet shelter to put down dogs and cats due to overcrowding and limited resources. It’s tragic, but most people understand. However, it’s harder to justify for a group as wealthy and influential as the ASPCA.

In one case, the ASPCA put down a dog known as “Oreo” and claimed the dog was a danger to the public. But rescue groups had offered to take in and rehabilitate the canine. The ASPCA chose to kill him—one of over 100 animals it killed that year. (That’s still an improvement over the previous body counts of the ASPCA—100,000 per year at the turn of the 20th Century, to 250,000 per year in the 1960s.)

The ASPCA also “most likely” killed dogs in 2012 after rescuing them, according to animal welfare commentator John Sibley. He attributed that to the ASPCA’s not wanting to spend the money to rehabilitate the animals.

It’s about the money, not the animals. The independent watchdog Charity Watch finds that ASPCA spends up to 35% of its budget on overhead, and 38 cents to raise every dollar, giving the organization a middling “C+” rating. Charity Navigator calculates that ASPCA spent a whopping $52 million on fundraising in 2012. CEO Edwin Sayres was getting nearly $600,000 in compensation annually when he left in 2013.

Bob Baker, a former ASPCA investigator, said, “Show one picture of a mistreated dog and the funds would pour in. It got to the point where animal welfare was not the priority, fund-raising was. It felt as though the animals were being used for fundraising, rather than using funds raised to help the animals.”

I think these findings constitute valid arguments for supporting trustworthy local animal rescue agencies (S.O. Humane, F.O.T.A.S., or C.A.T. S.) rather than apparently phony ones on TV ads.