No Dog Left Behind: A Hedonic Pricing Model for Animal Shelters


Companion animal overpopulation is a growing problem in the United States. In addition to strays, an average of 324,500 nonhuman animals are relinquished to shelters yearly by their caregivers due to family disruption (divorce, death), foreclosure, economic problems, or minor behavioral issues. As a result, estimates of animals in shelters range from 3 million to 8 million, and due to overcrowding, euthanasia is common. This analysis seeks to determine the appropriate pricing mechanisms to clear animal shelters of dogs in the manner most desirable—that is, through adoption. Based on a survey of Michigan residents, it is clear there are a number of correlations between the traits of dogs and the individuals who care for them. Hedonic pricing models indicate that animal shelters need to proactively vary their pricing systems to discount particular traits, specifically for mixed-breed, older, and black dogs. Premiums can be charged for puppies, purebred dogs, and those who have received specific services such as microchipping.

Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science

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