They are the nation's most powerful animal advocates, but how do they use your donations?

Animal advocates share name but not money

TAMPA, Fla. - The ads show sad-faced animals that tug at the heart strings of animal lovers everywhere.

Shelter volunteer and puppy foster parent Richard Bialor said he contributed to the Humane Society of the United States, the organization behind the commercials, for years without understanding where his money really went.

Joanne Schoch who works as the executive director for the Humane Society of the Nature Coast in Brooksville calls it donor confusion, and she thinks it's common.

For more than half a century the Humane Society of the United States says it has led advocacy efforts on behalf of animals every where. But between 2009 and 2012, while the Humane Society of the United States collected more than $509 million in total revenue, according to tax records, only about $27 million -- or about 5 percent -- was spent on grants and organizations within the United States.

The organization cites the recent rescue of more than 600 cats in a Gainesville hoarding case and the passage of more than 100 state laws last year alone as examples of the good work they do. However, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay says donors who don't give local are not directly assisting in caring for the 6,000 animals they rescued and adopted out last year.

HSUS officials say they do nothing to add to donor confusion, but they are driving a big agenda for animal welfare. Wayne Pacelle, the organization's president, says its role is to supplement the efforts of local shelters by advocating for tougher laws, raising awareness of cruelty and, in some cases, awarding grants.

We want to point out that there are other national charitable organizations that don't necessarily provide funds at the local level as well. The website Charity Navigator rates HSUS as a four-star charity and notes they spend 78 percent of their revenue on services.

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