- - Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Americans love animals, even cats. Eight million stray dogs and cats find their way into animal shelters every year, and the lucky ones are adopted into a warm home with a loving family. Shelters are operated by small charities usually called “humane societies,” whose good deeds are funded by private generosity. The Humane Society of the United States trades on the good of others to finance a radical agenda.

In May, the Humane Society and a handful of other radical animal-rights groups had to write a $15.8 million check to the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus for damages done. The circus had filed a racketeering lawsuit against the society to recover damages from a dishonest 14-year campaign the animal-rights groups mounted to bar elephants from the big top. The animal-rights groups found a former circus employee who gave graphic testimony that the elephants he loved were badly treated. His testimony generated big headlines in newspapers.

The groups had paid their star witness $190,000 to put on a courtroom show, but his lurid stories couldn’t hold up under the spotlight. His testimony was undermined by video evidence, and a federal judge concluded that he was “essentially a paid plaintiff and [a] fact witness who is not credible.” The groups had concealed the illegal payments in the accounting ledgers as “media and public education efforts.”

That’s the sort of thing the Humane Society spends much of its $150 million annual budget on, raised from unsuspecting donors. According to the Humane Society’s most recent IRS documents, Humane Society President Wayne Pacelle paid himself $400,000 in 2012, a raise of almost $100,000 from the year before.

Many of the organization’s donors presume they’re helping unloved puppies and kittens. Instead, they unwittingly pay for demonizing hunting, encouraging vegetarian diets, promoting global-warming hysteria and devising outlandish rules to drive meat producers out of business. No bacon, but would you like arugula with your scrambled eggs?

When Humane Society critics, including members of Congress, expressed concern that the outfit had taken lobbying beyond the level allowed by the group’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, an investigation was ordered at the Internal Revenue Service. Lois G. Lerner, the IRS official of recent infamy and who boasts that she’s an active Humane Society member, stalled the investigation for more than three years. She was busy harassing Tea Party 501(c)(4) groups, which, unlike the Humane Society and similar groups that accept tax-deductible contributions, are allowed to engage in political activity.

This hasn’t gone unnoticed. Charity Navigator pulled the Humane Society’s four-star rating and replaced it with a warning to donors. The American Institute of Philanthropy gave the Humane Society a grade of “D” and the website Charity Watch published harsh reviews and poor ratings of the society.

Friends of Fido and Tabby might better send the money they would give to the Humane Society to local rescue organizations that actually devote their efforts and resources to giving a dog or cat an opportunity to be someone’s new best friend.

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