Editor, There are a multitude of ads on TV these days from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals concerning homeless, injured, abused animals.
It is a subject that requires a lot more thought than the ads suggest is necessary.
Next to the guys wearing Walmart camouflage and collecting money for veterans, one of the biggest scams in this country is solicitation for care of homeless animals.
I don’t have the resources to point any fingers at any one organization in particular. I just want to leave you with a couple of thoughts where the ad for the ASPCA is involved.
If you watch the parade of miserable animals with those sad faces, it is enough to soften the hardest hearts among us.
You are told that a donation of $19 per month will cure the problem. They will send you a picture of an animal being helped.
You feel the tug at your heartstrings. You look over at your own pet — lazing about in his or her special bed with a full belly — and you take action.
You call the number on the screen. You will get a phone-bank operator sitting in a room of operators who are trained to get the information they need and the commitment from you for the $19 dollars per month.
That ad is going out across national television to literally millions of people.
I have no idea how many respond after being subjected to the terrible revolving pictures of injured and suffering animals; the ads are a masterpiece of persuasion. A few thousand respondents, maybe? A hundred thousand, maybe?
How many states and how many TV stations are the ads being run in, over and over again?
The cost of such advertising is hard to calculate. It is sort of a direct-marketing scheme using TV. It requires that you make an instant decision.
I am sure of one thing. It costs a bloody fortune to advertise again and again and again in markets all over the United States using, not even the standard 30-second ad, but much longer ones. Thousands? Hundreds of thousands of dollars? Certainly well beyond the budget of any local humane shelter.
I called the number. The girl immediately started asking me for my personal information. I stopped her.
I asked her where the ASPCA shelters were. I told her I wanted to visit one and asked her if she could give me an address.
Guess what — they seem to have just one in New York City!
She wasn’t sure of the address. Now, I’m sure they have one there. The girl just didn’t know the address.
I asked her where else there were shelters. She wasn’t sure if there were any more, but she was quick to tell me that they did, however, send money to many shelters for training and such. Really!
I spent 24 years in the pet industry, and I never have run across a shelter that got money from the ASPCA.
I know I objected to one shelter, where I served on the board, sending money to them!
You sent money and, as I recall, in return, you could list your shelter’s name with some sort of organization that ensured that shelters listed were of the best.
I have never seen that list or an inspector from that organization. I may be wrong. Call a shelter, any shelter, and ask if it gets money from the ASPCA. I hope it’s true.
OK, so far we are certain — well, almost — of one shelter in NYC and a national advertising program reaping many thousands of dollars every time it airs on who knows how many stations, over and over again for months on end.
You do the math. Then go down to your local shelter and write it a check for the $19, or maybe for a little more.
They need the money. The multitude of neglected, abused and homeless animals right in your backyard need your help.
The ASPCA can continue with its program announcing on every movie screen that the animals used in the making of the movie did not suffer any harm. Next time you are in NYC, stop by the ASPCA shelter. It must be a humdinger!
— Roy Hubbard