OKLAHOMA CITY (Legal Newsline) - Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt issued a warning on Wednesday to citizens about solicitations and advertisements by national animal welfare organizations.
Such groups, Pruitt warned, are giving Oklahomans the false impression that donations are used to assist animal shelters in the state when they may, in fact, be used for unrelated efforts, including lobbying in other states or at the federal level.
"Oklahomans are caring people and gave generously to assist our friends and neighbors devastated by the deadly May 2013 tornadoes," Pruitt said. "In the wake of the storm, there are concerns some national animal welfare organizations may have misled Oklahomans by giving the impression their donations would help displaced animals and animal shelters in Oklahoma.
"Our review has found the Oklahoma shelters have not received assistance from national groups. Our concern is that Oklahomans' donations may instead have gone toward lobbying activities in other states or at the national level. We all want the best for displaced animals and appreciate the work animal welfare organizations do to provide care for dogs, cats and other animals.
"But it's important to ensure Oklahomans are not being deceived, and that the donations they made to help Oklahoma-based animal shelters are doing just that."
Pruitt is looking into advertisements that followed the May 2013 tornadoes that gave the impression that donations would be used to aid animals displaced by the storm and to support local shelters impacted by the storm. Donations made to national animal welfare organizations, however, may instead have gone to lobbying activities. Central Oklahoma animal shelters impacted by the tornadoes told Pruitt that they did not receive assistance from the national groups.
To clarify and resolve such concerns, Pruitt is reviewing information from national animal welfare organizations.