Of course it's just PR! PR makes you look good without necessarily having to be good. A year ago I spoke to my local city hall about the SPCA and the press reported on it. The SPCA promptly contacted the media, and at least one editor was surprised at their attitude. The SPCA had a right to defend themselves, the editor said, but aside from an email and photo call that "attacked MacMillan herself" the editor also noted in a blog that "the e-mail I received contained a comment that really riled me up. It said that MacMillan was 'just' a volunteer"
'Justavolunteer' is a label I've heard from the SPCA ever since I got involved with them in 1999. They trot out the label when a volunteer doesn't simply toe the line and stay quiet. Criticism is NOT welcome (who said "God bless my critics, they keep me honest"?). The editor's blog ended by saying, "[The SPCA] can ignore it all they like, but I hear repeatedly that volunteers are scared of opening their mouths." Any volunteer who doesn't stay quiet is shown the door without explanation. That was my experience and the experience of others here. Disturbingly, that seems to be fine with city hall.