How much is your dog’s life worth?
Obviously, most people cannot answer that question, and the closest answer is that our dogs are priceless.
But, for a variety of reasons, it’s useful to have a number, and some researchers have come up with one. (For similar reasons, a number has been attached to human lives as well.)
The reasons one might need a value for a dog’s life include:
- Calculating loss in case of death or serious injury
- Calculating value in case of, say a divorce where one person has to give up the dog to the other
- Performing a cost-benefit analysis for anything from public safety measures to developing products or medications
There’s more, of course. It doesn’t address working dogs, like police K9s or service dogs. Some states have laws that spell out a value for these dogs or mete out harsher punishments to anyone who harms them. And the value of the dog doesn’t address intangibles like distress that might factor into damage awards in a lawsuit.
Speaking of lawsuits, currently most courts will only consider market value of a dog. Which, if your dog came from the shelter, is very little. While the value these researchers came up with, $10,000, is far less than the value I would place on my dog’s life, I guess it’s an improvement — and a step toward treating dogs differently from ordinary, inanimate property.