Oh goodie, the California State Legislature is standing up and shouting out one of those ridiculous statistics that just refuse to die:
(c) In six years one unspayed female dog and her offspring can reproduce 67,000 dogs.
Well, I suppose it is theoretically possible, but probable? No, in fact, it is so extremely unlikely as to be ridiculous -- so ridiculous, in fact, that you can't even find that 67,000 number on HSUS's website anymore (hint: that means it's pretty darn far-fetched -- they'd use it if they could).
The resiliency of this false statistic is really quite remarkable. No matter how many times the numbers are debunked, no matter how many times you patiently explain that the 67,000 figure is not so much statistics but shock tactics, it keeps coming back -- far too often touted by people who really should know better (and frankly, I'm fairly certain that some of these people do know better).
Lowering the physical and financial barriers to spaying and neutering are good things. Even in these trying economic times, the United States is a land of plenty, and nobody who wants to have their pet spayed or neutered should have to choose between going without dog food or electricity to pay for the procedure (unlike the 67,000 figure, this is not a far-fetched dilemma: there are still many areas where access is shockingly limited). And of course there's nothing wrong with putting pro-spay/neuter messages on license plates, either, if that's what floats your boat.
But supporting your positions through exaggerations and worse -- using people in positions of authority to parrot your fallacious statements -- is dishonest and a disservice to all who care about the welfare of animals, and ultimately the animals themselves. How on earth can we enact clear-headed, meaningful policies that help animals if we are basing our decisions upon fantastical statistics?
The short and not-so-sweet answer is that we can't.
Thanks, CaRPOC, for the heads up on this amended bill's interesting new choices in language!