Truth in advertising and HSUS

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, Jan/Feb 1998:

The Humane Society of the U.S. is to collect
“3-5% of all sales” of book, plush animal, and audiotape
packages produced by The Benefactory, of
Fairfield, Connecticut, inspired by “true stories about
real, living animals.” If any of the money gets back to
the rescue groups actually involved with each animal,
there seems to be no mention of it in the publicity package
ANIMAL PEOPLE received. Among the stories is
that of a dog saved by the Northeast Animal Shelter, a
no-kill high volume adoption facility––with no mention
that HSUS has crusaded against both no-kill sheltering
and high volume adoption for more than 40 years.
Wrote San Francisco SPCA president
Richard Avanzino on November 21 to Humane
Society of the U.S. president Paul Irwin, “In a recent
edition of your publication Animal Sheltering, devoted
to the no-kill debate, you admonish no-kill shelters that
failure to be forthright can create ‘false and harmful’
perceptions. You counsel against misrepresenting the
extent of the ‘surplus pet problem’ and stress the need
for everyone to be ‘fair and truthful.’ However, your
own publication states that ‘In the fiscal years 1993


through 1997, before a n d after the Adoption Pact
[which guarantees that no healthy or recoverable dog or
cat will be killed in San Francisco shelters, except for
mandatory rabies testing of biters], San Francisco
Animal Care and Control has still had to euthanize more
than 6,000 animals annually.’ The SF/ACC did not
euthanize 6,000 dogs and cats in a n y year since the
Adoption Pact was signed on April 1, 1994. Last year
the SF/ACC euthanized 4,190 dogs and cats. Only by
adding wildlife, such as injured pigeons, mice and rats,
as well as exotics, farm animals, and all other species,
can SF/ACC euthanasia statistics be inflated to ‘more
than 6,000 animals,’ to create the entirely false perception
that the SF/ACC euthanized over 43% more cats
and dogs last year than it did.” Irwin on December 16
admitted that animals other than dogs and cats were
lumped into the figure of 6,000, but said “Whether the
figure in that sentence was 10 or 10,000 animals, our
point was that San Francisco still has to euthanize.”
A meeting of creditors of former HSUS vice
president for investigations David Wills was set for
January 9, preceding a February 3 hearing on Wills’
petition for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Wills has declared
debts of $165,000, not including $93,000 which HSUS
alleges he misappropriated, and has offered to repay
$56,000 over the next five years. HSUS has filed a civil
action seeking recovery, and is reportedly contesting
the bankruptcy petition. Wills, longtime protege of
John Hoyt, HSUS president 1970-1995, was fired in
1995 after the alleged misappropriation came to light as
result of a lawsuit two staffers filed against him for
alleged sexual harassment. Their suit was reportedly
settled out of court in mid-1997. Appointed director of
the Nashua Humane Society in 1972 at Hoyt’s recommendation,
Wills moved to Detroit to become executive
director of the Michigan Humane Society in 1979, just
before the NHS board became aware funds were unaccountably
missing. Wills resigned from MHS in June
1989, when the MHS board discovered a $1.6 million
deficit; bookkeeper Denise Hopkins was later convicted
of embezzling $60,000, leaving the rest unaccounted
for. Wills then formed the National Society for
Animal Protection, but folded it in 1991 to join HSUS.
Ex-NSAP volunteer Sandra LeBost in June 1995 won a
$42,500 judgement against Wills for allegedly failing to
repay loans and failing to return her father’s gold watch,
which he had borrowed, but LeBost has yet to collect.

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