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Source: Center for the Environment and Welfare news release

Arlington, Va. -- Today, the former president and CEO of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) spoke out against the national animal charity, which only gives 2 percent of its budget to local animal shelters.

During his decade leading the ASPCA, Ed Sayres oversaw the creation of the group's infamous Sarah McLachlan commercial and $19.99 monthly gift donation model, ushering in a new era of nonprofit fundraising--and radical revenue growth for the ASPCA.

Unfortunately, these resources aren't going to the local pet shelters Sayres intended to help.

He explained, "What's happened with the ASPCA grants program is that it's now down to about five million dollars a year for pet shelters when you have revenue of $390 million dollars per year. Now that's 2020 and 2021, the ASPCA finished with an operating surplus of fifty million dollars or eighty million dollars, and those resources could really be used to be helping shelters."

Sayres is telling his story in a three-part video series, sharing why he believes his successors in the national animal charity space have lost their way:

"What's upsetting as time has gone on is that the original purpose of those funds seems to be forgotten. People will tell me 'Well I donate to the ASPCA and I know my local organization gets those donations' and I would say that no, they actually don't...your local organization doesn't automatically get funding from the Humane Society of the United States or the ASPCA."

To watch former ASPCA CEO Ed Sayres on his disappointment with the current ASPCA's neglect of local shelters, click here.

He has teamed up with the Center for the Environment and Welfare (CEW) to help get the word out about the failures of national animal charities and to encourage animal lovers to give to local shelters instead. CEW executive director Jack Hubbard said:

"Ed is motivated to help local shelters. There is no one with a better background or credibility to correct donor confusion and demand these national animal groups stop hoarding donations. Donors deserve to know that the ASPCA and HSUS are unaffiliated with local shelters."

To watch the full video series, click here.


CEW is committed to educating the public about how best to help rescue cats and dogs. In spring 2023, CEW launched the first phase of a sustained effort to expose the duplicity of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). As part of this effort, in fall 2023, CEW released a report exposing the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) for their abysmal financial support of local animal shelters across the United States.


Edwin Sayres has dedicated his life to championing animal welfare. Beginning as a manager of a small regional animal shelter in New Jersey, his career in the humane movement has spanned four decades--helping to save the lives of countless cats and dogs. In perhaps his most notable role, Mr. Sayres previously served as the President and CEO of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the oldest animal welfare organization in North America.

Now, as a senior advisor to the Center for the Environment and Welfare, Mr. Sayres is once again helping to advocate for animals in need. He is ringing the alarm bell about the local pet shelter crisis in America--and specifically how large, national animal groups are leaving local shelters behind. To that end, Mr. Sayres urges animal lovers to give locally.


At a time when leaders are facing unprecedented pressure to adopt responsible environmental, social, and government (ESG) policies, it can be difficult for decision-makers and the public to separate good policy from bad. As a think tank, CEW leverages cutting-edge research to assess ESG proposals and recommend best practices that actually make a difference for animals and the planet. To learn more, visit

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