Is The ASPCA’s Tear-Jerking Commercial Deceptive?

LOS ANGLES (CBS) — Is this what you call a cat fight? Or is it just a question of which animal rights agency is top dog? The Humane Society of California has filed a complaint against the ASPCA with the Attorney General.

They say the animal rights organization received $116-million in 2009, and only gave three-tenths of a percent to California. The group’s commercial (including an 800-number seeking donations would imply they are a national organization but they are based in New York City and only cater to New York animals in need, according to the Humane Society.)

SPCA’s are completely independent non-profits. So if a person living in Los Angeles, for example, is moved to make a donation (after seeing one of those tear-tugging commercials with Sarah McLachlan’s haunting “Angel” playing) you would potentially be giving money to needy animals in New York.

California’s State Humane Society wants to stop that practice calling the commercials misleading. They allege those commercials are unfair and deceptive and cause many people in the State of California to believe they have donated to local SPCA’s or Humane Societies.

The ASPCA believes the complaint is without merit. They issued a release in response. “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.”

They also added, “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.”

  • Is The ASPCA?s Tear-Jerking Commercial Deceptive? | Los Angeles for Me

    […] Is this what you call a cat fight? Or is it just a question of which animal rights agency is top dog? The Humane Society of California has filed a complaint against the ASPCA with the Attorney General. More from:… […]

  • TDL

    This is why I just canceled my monthly donation. This is not a no-kill shelter, and they are corrupt. Animal lovers, do not give this organization your money.


    The problem I have with the ASPCA is that when my dog needed surgery to repair a broken leg the ASPCA told me to forget it that I was on my own. Either they lied to me or are FRAUDS….

  • time for shelter reform

    ASPCA-LA is just as corrupt as the national organization. They share space with the LB shelter and cherry-pick only the most adoptable animals to bring over to “their side.” The others are all killed. Dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, bunnies. More animals are killed than are saved because they weren’t picked. Shame on Madeline Bernsteiin.

    • Mary

      The SPCA-LA (not the ASPCA-LA) does pick dogs from Animal Care Services in Long Beach. And they do pick dogs that they think will be adoptable. The SPCA-LA does not put a time limit on how long the animals stay until they are adopted. The facts of pet overpopulation are unfortunate because there is only so much room to house the animals and only so much budget to go around. By giving money to the ASPCA it diverts the funds from helping the animals locally.

      But if you want to blame someone for dog overpopulation and euthanasia – don’t blame SPCA-LA or Animal Care Services – blame the people who don’t spay or neuter their animals and have “accidents” or who illegally breed and sell dogs for money (without a license).

      • Mary

        FYI to self – Need to do more research on mandatory spay & neuter in L.B. It may have only been proposed. Yes, mandatory spay & neuter is a good idea – although I know not everyone agrees.

      • sue

        but shouldn’t the SPCA and Animal Control be pushing for mandatory spay/neuter? With such high euthanasia rates they should be all over implementing mandatory. I don’t see it…
        Everybody is pointing the finger at someone else. Doesn’t do the trick. Mandatory spay/neuter will.

      • Mary

        Long Beach already has a mandatory spay neuter law. Age 4 months – unless you are a legal breeder and get a license. Also State law says that all animals leaving the shelter have to be spayed or neutered upon leaving. SPCA-LA has opened an affordable spay/neuter clinic in Los Angeles. Just FYI.

  • bestuvall

    where is the adjunct suit against the Humane Society of the Unites States? i see ‘humane society” on the sign in this video. They are just as egregious and culpable and run NO shelters.
    Give locally.. not to scam organizations . for the real story

    • Mark

      You will NOT get the real story at Humanewatch is run by the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF). CCF is an industry lobbying group funded by big tobacco and food manufactures. It’s purpose is to fight laws designed to protect consumers and animals. Regardless of how you feel about HSUS or ASPCA, humanewatch is NOT an organization you want to support or recommend.

      • Time4Dogs

        Ad hominem attacks against CCF do not negate the truthful information they provide about HSUS and other Animal Scam groups.
        GO CCF! Thank goodness we finally have a group to refute the nonsense spouted by HSUS and other wealthy animal supremicist groups.

  • Toni

    HSUS is an anti-industry lobbying group funded by well meaning animal lovers who respond to its deceptive TV ads and misleading mailings. A charity’s tax-exempt purpose isn’t to make laws for their political opponents to “fight.” If you fact-check HSUS’s phony claims and analyze the creatrive accounting on its IRS 990s’s, it is clear that HSUS does very little charitable work. A few of its “controlled affiliates” like the Fund for Animals provide some direct care (and aggressively fundraise for it) but it’s a separate organization. Donations to HSUS are mainly spent on lobbbying, litigation, in-house fundraising, outside fundraising companies, PR and marketing, and harassing their critics (CCF is just one of many.)

    Another HSUS critic, The No-Kill Advocacy Center is an organization animal lovers will want to support and recommend. Read Nathan Winograd’s “Betrayal and Deceit at the Humane Society of the United States” for the real story from the real leader of the animal protection movement.

  • Nico

    I think that this case should be thrown out of court. If people wanted to donate to their local shelters they could just go to the shelter or mail them a check. If people assumed that the money was going to their local shelter that is their own fault not the fault of the commercial. There is not place on that ad that states the money will be going to your local shelter.

    As I said above eif people want to donate in their area, go to a local shelter, go to pet co adoptions, petsmart and any other stores in their area that may have pet adoptions.

  • john simpson

    CCF is an organization who lobbies against humane treatment laws of farm animals, global warming initiatives, Food sanitation laws and inspections of abbatoirs, and restaurants, anti pollution regulations, and support the repeal of laws to regulate the puppy mill industry. They are a front for gross polluters, large agribusinesses, food factories, and the restaurant industry. Their goal is to deregulate these areas of the economy, and repeal the health and safety statutes that protect the general public, in order to increase the profits of their corporate sponsors while decreasing their culpability and liability. They engage in deceptive advertising, whille pursuing a right wing agenda that serves only to enrich the coffers of their sponsors, while perpetuating the abuse of animals and putting the health of the American people at risk.

  • Following Closely

    HSUS, like PETA, is trying to make America a meartless, pet-less society. The ASPCA does good work. HSUS is merely a money making machine for its bigwigs.

  • Jeb

    Just another example of why “animal rights” groups are among the most corrupt organizations in the world. These self-serving, anti-human, facists need to be exposed for who they are. They exploit your natural empathy for poor, defenseless animals to extract money from your wallet and then spend none of it to actually help those animals. It is shameful.

  • richard

    give money and if possible time to your local animal shelter, not all dogs & cats will be adopted and some will be killed, sad but true. too many pets and not enough homes to take them in

  • rsq

    Glad to see that the CCF response centeris on the job. Thanks representatives “Toni” and “Time4Dogs” for speaking out for the real victims: corporations, restaurants, labs, and mills. Very clever of the CCF astro-turfing(look it up) team to pretend to be real commentators.

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