Connecticut is among a number of states where animal shelters received no money in financial grants from either of the nation’s leading charities for pets. The finding is part of a study conducted by the Center for the Environment and Welfare (CEW), a nonprofit organization that evaluates sustainability and animal welfare policy.
CEW evaluated the 2021 tax returns of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and found neither organization donated more than two percent of their budget in grants to local animal shelters.
According to the report, HSUS had a budget of $138 million in 2021 and a total revenue of $260 million. The organization donated $1.6 million in financial grants to local pet shelters, a figure worth roughly 1 percent of their budget. Shelters in 32 states plus the District of Columbia did not receive any financial grants from the organization.
In 2021, the ASPCA earned $390 million in revenue and spent $302 million. It gave $5.5 million to local pet shelters in 29 states plus the District of Columbia in the form of grants, a figure under two percent of its total budget.
According to the report, $67 million of the HSUS’ 2021 budget was in offshore accounts. A further $56 million was spent on fundraising.
The ASPCA’s two biggest budget expenditures in 2021 were $312 million in investments and $135 million in advertising.
CEW’s report notes that while many people assume the HSUS and the ASPCA are affiliated with local human societies or societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals, this is not the case.
“HSUS does not run a single pet shelter, while the ASPCA runs one adoption center in New York City.” the report notes.
The report also cites national polling conducted in 2023 that found 81 percent of respondents believes the ASPCA is an umbrella group that represents local animal cruelty societies across the country. 80 percent of respondents believed that the HSUS is an umbrella group for humane societies across the country.
“All of these beliefs are mistaken. The millions of dollars in TV ads full of dogs and cats, combined with the names of the ASPCA and HSUS, have misled the public and created this confusion.” the report states.
The Connecticut Humane Society (CHS) does not have any national affiliations and has chapters in Newington, Waterford, and Westport.
According to its 2021 tax documents, the CHS received around $21.7 million in revenue, with roughly $10.8 million coming from contributions and grants and $9.9 coming from investment income. During that year, the CHS found homes for 1,615 animals. It also provided vaccines for 4,195 animals, spayed or neutered 1,049 animals, and provided examinations, with each animal receiving 29 hours of care on average. Shelter services, veterinary clinic services, and community and education services accounted for the organization’s three biggest expenses, totaling around $6.4 million.
Connecticut’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recently closed on May 6 of this year. According to a statement provided to WTNH, the shelter’s closure was driven by “financial constraints that made it impossible to continue operations.”