Louisiana Attorney General Charles C. Foti, Jr., recently announced that his office has opened inquiries focusing on the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the American Red Cross in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
The AG’s office said the investigation of the Humane Society stems from allegations involving funds raised for pet/owner reunions by the non-profit agency.
Allegations that some volunteers associated with the American Red Cross may have engaged in widespread theft in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, is the cause of the investigation into that organization. The inquiry comes on the heels of information and reports from the Red Cross regarding possible fraud in the collection and distribution of Red Cross disaster funds following the recent hurricanes that hit the Gulf Coast.
Attorney General Foti has asked for information from the agency including names and telephone numbers of all persons who participated in Louisiana relief efforts as well as copies of any other internal reports or investigations conducted by the American Red Cross.
The AG is asking the HSUS for an accounting of all funds HSUS raised for the purpose of pet rescue and reunion with pet owners in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
The AG’s office reported it has received numerous complaints from pet owners about problems many are having finding their pets following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Through its association with other animal welfare organizations nationwide, HSUS has documented and placed animals in shelters around the country, often resulting in the displaced pets’ adoption. In some cases, pet owners claim that those who are currently caring for the displaced pets are refusing to reunite the pet with the proper owners.
The Attorney General is asking anyone with information about questionable activities by either group, or any other groups, to contact the Consumer Protection Section at (800) 351-4889 or visit the Web site at www.ag.state.la.us.
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