This weekend, Twitch streamer and political commentator Hasan Piker was trying to adopt a new dog. While he visited three Los Angeles based shelters, he decided to donate a total of $25,000 to help cover the adoption fees for other prospective dog owners.
In March 2020, Piker lost his pitbull Fish to liver cancer. “Fish was such an incredible dog that he single handedly caused everyone around me to also rescue dogs for the first time in their lives,” he wrote on his Instagram account. Fish was originally a rescue dog that Piker adopted in 2013. This time around, the Twitch streamer is passing it forward.
Piker visited Wags & Walks, an animal shelter with a $500 adoption fee. He offered them $15,000 to cover other people who wanted to take a dog home. His video editor Ostonox told Kotaku over Twitter DMs that Piker had given an additional $5,000 each to Best Friends adoption center and the West Los Angeles Animal Shelter.
According to Ostonox, Wags & Walks decided not to use the money for waiving fees. The fees present a barrier to low-income people who want to own dogs, which was the entire point of enforcing them in the first place. As anyone who has ever owned a furbaby would know, caring for a pet costs a lot of money. When the owner runs out of money, the animal often ends up abandoned or going to a shelter.
“We were honored to have Hasan visit our adoption center and to receive such an impactful donation!.” a Wags & Walks representative wrote to Kotaku over email. “Hasan’s donation will go directly to supporting the 120+ dogs in our care. On average, the cost of care per dog we save is approximately $500. Hasan’s donation will support our rescues’ critical medical care, spay/neuter surgeries, vaccinations, training and rehab, humane education programming and also help fund supplies like kibble, potty pads, toys, beds, etc.” She mentioned that running the shelter cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, and that the money will be used to help dogs find their “forever families.”
Piker acknowledged the contradiction of his donation on his stream. “The reason why shelters exist in the first place is the reason they have a high adoption fee,” he said. “Shelters exist because people will buy dogs, sometimes from breeders, and then realize they can’t take care of the dog.”
Piker’s donation isn’t being used to offset owner costs, but he didn’t seem bothered about it. “I don’t care what they use it for. I don’t care if they don’t waive the fees. I want them to have the money. Because I wanted to donate to them.”
Obviously, the biggest political commentator on Twitch isn’t purely giving money out of the goodness of his heart. He’s turned the donation into content rather than something that he does quietly. But as we’ve seen from other content creators, there are far worse ways to approach charity than giving discretionary funding to organizations that are doing good work on the ground. Kotaku asked Ostonox if Piker had found his furever friend during his shelter trips, and they said that he’s “still looking.”
In the past, Piker has been criticized for how he spends his money due to his public image as a socialist streamer, especially after buying things like a house to live in. Some argued that Piker should be doing more for charity, to which he said at the time, “I do donate, some public most not.” But Piker has definitely used his platform for good causes, like recently taking part in a Twitch fundraiser that attained $700,000 for Syria-Turkey earthquake victims.