INDIANAPOLIS – A group of six lawmakers wants the state to investigate the Humane Society of the United States, accusing the group of deceptive fundraising tactics.
The lawmakers – led by Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford – wrote to Attorney General Greg Zoeller to ask him to look into the society, which regularly lobbies the Indiana General Assembly about farming and animal rights issues.
The request claims the group raises money from Hoosiers, who assume the money goes to help animals in local shelters. However, only about 1 percent of the money actually goes to humane societies and shelters for the welfare of the animals, the group’s letter said.
But Erin Huang, the Indiana state director for the group, called the accusations “an obvious political attack from politicians who stand in the way of protecting animals from captive hunts, puppy mills, and factory farms.”
“The Humane Society of the United States is transparent in our work and our track record of protecting all animals from cruelty,” she said in a statement.
Oklahoma’s attorney general has already released a consumer alert regarding the confusion between HSUS and local animal groups.
“The concern is that the HSUS projects heart-wrenching imagery of puppies and kittens in solicitations in order to extract donations from unsuspecting Oklahomans who believe their donations are going to help local animal shelters,” said Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt in a statement. “But instead, their hard-earned money may go to high-powered lobbying and special interest campaigns that are determined to shape state and federal legislation that would harm farmers, ranchers and other Oklahomans.”
The Indiana legislators are requesting that the attorney general issue a consumer alert about the fundraising of HSUS and clarify confusion between the national group and local animal care groups. Republican Sens. Susan Glick of LaGrange, Jean Leising of Oldenburg, Mark Messmer of Jasper, Carlin Yoder of Middleburg and Jim Tomes of Wadesville also signed the letter.
The attorney general’s office confirmed it has received the request.
“We appreciate their sharing their concerns and raising awareness with their constituents,” said Bryan Corbin, a spokesman for the attorney general. “The attorney general’s office does not confirm, deny or acknowledge investigations. If consumers wish to file a consumer complaint about any business or nonprofit, they can do so online at www.indianaconsumer.com.”
Amanda Creech is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.
Correction: This story has been updated from its original version to include the entire quote from Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. Part of the quote was originally left out. TheStatehouseFile.com regrets the error.