Lawmakers seek AG investigation into Humane Society of US fundraising

By Amanda Creech

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”

Amanda Creech is a reporter for, 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. regrets the error.
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8 Responses to Lawmakers seek AG investigation into Humane Society of US fundraising

  1. Michael Leppert

    I would like to know who the other five signatories to the letter are. Thank you for covering this.

  2. Lesley Weidenbener

    Thanks for the question Mike. We just added the following sentence to the story:

    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.

  3. Hmmm. Some politicians don’t like an organization that promotes legislation and policies to protect living creatures against abuse by big agriculture.

  4. I support HSUS and have for many years. Give your constituents some credit. If anyone takes even a moment to read the fundraising information, in print or on-line, they will easily comprehend where their donation is going and what it supports. These legislators are simply anti-animal welfare and, in some way, involved with big agriculture.

  5. If HSUS does so much good, why don’t they show that in their advertizments.

  6. I don’t feel bad for him, mainly bsuecae I think he can take it. Good for him for doing the ads and trying to expand the base of people who are aware of and won’t tolerate cruelty to animals. Maybe it’s bsuecae I do find sport hunting and killing for the sake of killing abhorrent, but I thought much of what the “pro hunting” folks were saying in the article to be, um, logically inconsistent. Particularly the claim the “sportsman lobby” that Rush’s anti-dogfighting commercials give implied endorsement to all HSUS causes, and then their claim that most people don’t actually know what the HSUS does. So assumed implied endorsement of causes people don’t actually know about. Yeah, sounds like a big problem.

  7. I appreciate you taking to time to contribute That’s very helpful.

  8. Thought it wouldn’t to give it a shot. I was right.