An advertisement running on at least four local radio stations has the Kentucky Humane Society worried about its reputation.
The ad is paid for by the Center for Consumer Freedom, a group that lobbies on behalf of the meat and fast-food industries.
Over ominous music, a voice in the minute-long ad says the Humane Society of the United States — a national nonprofit and lobbying organization — doesn’t run any animal shelters, but uses “tens of millions of dollars from people like me to pay for executive salaries, big pensions and celebrity parties.”
The problem is, Louisville audiences are hearing the ad and thinking it’s about the Kentucky Humane Society. Andrea Blair, director of PR & marketing for KHS, says the local group is a private nonprofit completely unaffiliated with the national organization.
“The only thing we share in common is the name ‘humane society,'” she says. “The Kentucky Humane Society is not a chapter of any national humane agency.”
Blair says they’ve already had potential donors question them about the allegations in the ads, and the trouble couldn’t come at a worse time: KHS raises a quarter of its yearly donations during the month of December.
She says 82 cents of each donated dollar goes to animal care and education, re-homing animals and providing free or low-cost spay or neuter surgeries.
“We want to make sure that people know where their money is going, and that if they want to support local animals, they need to give to local charities,” she says.
The Center for Consumer Freedom — with which HSUS has feuded publicly before — didn’t respond to a request for comment.
This story has been updated.