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Local Humane Society: We Get No Money from National Humane Society

If you donate to the Humane Society of the United States, what do you think your money is used for? You might think some of your money would trickle down to your local humane society. But in some cases, that's not true, and local animal shelters say that's causing confusion.

The Humane Society of the United States' website is full of pictures of animals and stories. If you donate there, however, don't expect your money to trickle down to your local human society, like the Humane Society of Decatur and Macon County. Irene Peterson from the Humane Society of Decatur and Macon County said they have received no money from the national organization.

The Humane Society of the United States said it was not founded to give
money to local shelters. Instead, it does shelter education, does
special projects with shelters, and fights big-picture issues.

"The national topics we tackle are puppy mills, inhumane slaughter, animal fighting, lab abuse," Kristen Strawbridge from the Humane Society of the United States said. "We have a number of campaigns we work on."

So what's the issue?

"I've had people make the comment to me, 'I donate here,'" Peterson said. "Since I do all the deposits, I ask them their name and I'll say, 'I don't remember that. When did you donate?' Then, I found out they sent money to the Humane Society of the United States and I tell them 'That money does not come here,' and it shocks people."

The Humane Society of the United States claims to be the most effective animal protection organization in the nation. But do you think the message is clear that it is not about giving money to local shelters? It depends on who you ask.

"No, I don't think there any confusion," Strawbridge said. "Our donors get magazines, e-mails, they can visit our website. And we don't claim to run pet shelters."

"I think it would be helpful to people who think money is coming here," Peterson said.

"I think our donors are a little bit more sophisticated than what some people indicate, but I do think, because of the common use of the phrase 'humane society' and the common use of the SPCA title, there is confusion out there," Illinois Humane Society President Jane McBride said.

What's the bottom line? If you want to help your local shelter monetarily, it's probably best to send your money directly there. If you want to help fight animal cruelty at the national level, the Humane Society of the United States could be a better choice.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, in 2011, it gave more than $12,000 to Illinois shelters. This past weekend, the group held an event in Chicago where a total of 419 dogs and cats were vaccinated.

The Humane Society of Decatur and Macon County said donations are down and they need help.