Part II: My Vet & HSUS

Well, I had the big talk with "Darryl" from my vet's office about the Humane Society of the United States and the member magazine on display in their waiting room. It was an amiable conversation and one that I think made an impression upon the office manager. I wasn't totally convinced, however, and took steps that could, in some, well perhaps many, circles be considered illegal.

When I went into the vet's office the same nice girl that retrieved my pups and that I asked about HSUS the first time I went in was manning the front desk. This time she went to the back and retrieved the "Darryl."

Darryl came out, we shook hands and sat down for a nice conversation. Just as I suspected, he didn't really know the difference between HSUS and the local humane shelter. I gave him a quick education on the HSUS, including their lack of support for local shelters, their lobbying efforts to directly or indirectly stop hunting, their poor efficiency as reported by AIP and Charity Navigator and more.

At one point Darryl said, "I'm not a hunter, well not any more, I did some as a kid but not any longer, but even I know that without hunting animal populations would quickly be out of control."

I liked his openness and he said that they did not support HSUS. He wrote the checks and could assure me that he hadn't written one to them, especially in this economy. The best he could figure is that it was a free mailing that they had sent to the office. This wasn't out of the realm of possibility, as 1) in the magazine world this happens often to boost circulation numbers and 2) the HSUS is notorious for sending junk mail to anyone and everybody!

The conversation briefly turned to the impact of the poor economy on business. He estimates that routine preventative vaccines have dropped by nearly fifty percent, while euthanasia due to preventative, or early diagnosed, issues has risen by close to that amount.

We ended the conversation cordially, but I still wasn't completely convinced...largely due to some of the comments on this blog. So I took the March/April issue of the HSUS magazine "All Animals" that was on display (ironically, the cover story was on how HSUS is helping catch poachers) with me when I left.

Now, I could, and probably will with my luck, get in trouble for admitting this on a public blog, but I called the HSUS customer support line and started asking questions.

Under the guise of a member of the vet's office staff, I acted confused as to how "we" were receiving the magazine as I didn't show anything in our records and asked if it was a free mailing. It wasn't a free mailing, I was told (by the overseas, outsourced operator), but a benefit given to members that donate more than $25.

The operator then looked up "our" history and noted that a donation had in fact been given to HSUS from this office. The said donation was $25 and it was made in 2006. She didn't know why the magazine has continued to be sent for the last four years and then asked if I wanted to make another donation.

Of course, I declined and she asked if I wanted the magazine to stop being sent. I said yes and ended my fraudulent call.

So, risking jail time, I have determined that my vet did donate to HSUS, but it was more than four years ago and they were ignorant of the facts surrounding the big political, fundraising machine.

With the lapsed timeframe and new education they've received, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and continue using their services...for now, at least.