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Is The ASPCA's Tear-Jerking Commercial Deceptive?

LOS ANGLES (CBS) — Is this what you call a cat fight? Or is it just a question of which animal rights agency is top dog? The Humane Society of California has filed a complaint against the ASPCA with the Attorney General.

They say the animal rights organization received $116-million in 2009, and only gave three-tenths of a percent to California. The group's commercial (including an 800-number seeking donations would imply they are a national organization but they are based in New York City and only cater to New York animals in need, according to the Humane Society.)

SPCA's are completely independent non-profits. So if a person living in Los Angeles, for example, is moved to make a donation (after seeing one of those tear-tugging commercials with Sarah McLachlan's haunting "Angel" playing) you would potentially be giving money to needy animals in New York.

California's State Humane Society wants to stop that practice calling the commercials misleading. They allege those commercials are unfair and deceptive and cause many people in the State of California to believe they have donated to local SPCA's or Humane Societies.

The ASPCA believes the complaint is without merit. They issued a release in response. "The ASPCA is a national organization dedicated to helping animals wherever there is a need. Animal welfare supporters are happy that we aid local communities, offer field investigation and recovery services and provide critical life-saving programs all around the country."

They also added, "In 2010, the ASPCA gave over 600 grants totaling nearly $7 million for animal welfare and anti-cruelty assistance in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the District of Columbia. In California, the ASPCA's average grant total per year for the past four years will be nearly $1 million by the end of 2011. And, the organization has pledged $250,000 in grants in 2011 to animal shelters and rescue groups in the Los Angeles-area with funding aimed at saving the lives of animals in the Los Angeles community. If a shelter or community is in need of animal welfare resources, disaster relief or anti-cruelty assistance, we stand ready to provide rescue support or aid."

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