What a ride. About 3 years ago, a director of a California animal shelter serving on an advisory board for John Snyder at the Humane Society of the US (HSUS), where I worked at the time, asked a gathering where I was in attendance if we could help clear up a misunderstanding that national TV ads from the ASPCA were causing for local shelters. He explained that donors believed they had given money to his shelter by sending in their $19.00 per month to the 1-800 number on the ASPCA’s TV ad. I knew this to be true because I had experienced the same donor confusion at two different shelters where I had worked. People often asked me how much support I would get from my “home office” for some of my investigations. They were surprised to find out their donations to national groups were not directly sent to pet shelters.

After the meeting, I talked to HSUS’s Andrew Rowan about the idea. I was hoping the HSUS education department could play a role in the solution. Instead, the powers that be at HSUS decided to copy the TV ads. So, here I am, years later, still convinced that the confusion needs to be addressed.

That’s the whole goal behind the Humane Society for Shelter Pets—to clear up this humane confusion. While I certainly can’t take on their 50 lawyers and the $100 million in cash that HSUS receives every year to keep the confusion alive, I have found a way to help address the misunderstanding.

One might think the Humane Society for Shelter Pets would be warmly embraced by anyone in favor of more funding for animal care. Of course, I knew there would be some people opposed to the project and specifically opposed to me working on it. But perhaps the strong reaction against HSSP only means one thing: This matters!

The Humane Society for Shelter Pets doesn’t need much money. At present, it’s a website we maintain so that you can find local groups to help. If you are involved in hands on animal care, it’s a place to list your needs. We are not asking for your money. “What?!” you ask. That’s right: We want you, if you support animal welfare causes, to be able to support animal care directly. It’s not easy to find your local rescue group or even your county shelter. These organizations do not have PR companies that help them get the word out—they spend their money on vet bills and pet food. They need a way to ask for help. To find a shelter or rescue group near you, go to our shelter finder and simply use your zip code.

Didi Culp
Director, Humane Society for Shelter Pets