Friday, September 22, 2023


Dog DNA tests—coming to an RV park near you!

By Russ and Tiña De Maris
The techno-jazz theme music of “CSI” demands to know, “Who are you? Who? Who? Who? Who?” The Crime Scene Investigators got a lot of mileage out of determining from DNA samples “who” was responsible for whatever nefarious crime they were resolving. But you’ll find this high-tech crime tool is doing more than solving murders. Dog DNA tests are now pointing the finger—or the paw—at who left the dirty at the crime scene. Will your own Fido be in line for a cheek swab?

Widespread in apartments

Dog-poop dumping has gone high-tech across the country. Got a pooch and want to rent an apartment? Don’t be surprised if the landlord demands a swab from your mutt’s mouth. You’ll then be asked to sign an agreement that you’ll be responsible for cleaning up after Fido. Should you fail in your duty when your dog does his duty, you could be in for a nasty fine. What’s that? Apartment managers have turned into CSIs. A small sample of dog poop is sent to the lab. If your dog’s DNA matches that unwelcome dropping, some landlords are fining for failure to clean up. A typical “fecal fine” is $100. Other apartment managers are charging $250 for the first offense. Taking the bite of canine crime could mean $350 for a second offense. Third time could be a charm—a pretty little eviction notice.

Does the doo-doo DNA voodoo work? In Breckenridge, Colorado, one public housing outfit requires a DNA sample from residents’ dogs. In an interview published by the Denver Post, a housing authority representative said, “Our decision to pursue dog DNA testing was around ensuring our property was being up-kept and maintained. And making sure our guests weren’t exposed to, well, dog poop everywhere. It has worked. No one wants to be fined $100 over dog poop.”

Florida RV park does it already

Woodsmoke Camping Resort on

All well and good for long-term stays. Would such a dog DNA scheme work in, say, an RV park? Glad you asked! Pilot your RV and your pooch to Fort Myers, Florida. Plug “Woodsmoke Camping Resort” in your GPS and you’ll find the answer. Writes one campground guest in an internet review, “If you have a dog, they will charge you $40 to do a DNA test on your pet. This is a one-time fee, non-refundable. You MUST pick up after your pet or you will be charged $75.”

Forty bucks for a dog DNA test? Yes. DNA labs charge their apartment complex and RV park clients for the initial DNA evaluation and registration. Figures are hard to come by, but some suggest landlords are making a profit on the initial DNA test. We asked for comments from two DNA labs that specialize in “canine crap checks,” but, sadly, neither responded to our queries. Hang on, we have comments attributed to Woodsmoke’s management.

Not everyone is happy—but…

Some dog-owning RVers take exception to being charged a DNA registration fee. But keep in mind this in mind: Some RV parks charge extra to those who bring pets to their parks. And some park managers report that when they charge a pet fee, some thoughtless pet owners take it as carte blanche to allow their pet to poop—and let someone else do the cleanup. At Woodsmoke, the $40 charge only happens once. Subsequent visits already have the DNA profile on file. And if you should visit another RV park that uses the same DNA lab, you can use that profile there at no charge. Consider it a sort of poop passport.

RV park responds

While some RVing dog lovers have taken exception to the Fort Myers RV park policy on pet poop, here are comments Woodsmoke Camping Resort posted to a social media page: “There is a one-time $40 dog registration fee, which includes a cheek swab. We are charged $40 by Poo Prints [their DNA test lab] to register each pet. We could charge more in order to profit from it, but we do not,” the note said.

“When we first started this service we were only charging $20 per dog, which actually meant we were losing money. If poo is found on our property, we send it off to Poo Prints who tests it for DNA and tells us which dog it belongs to. We then fine the owner $75, the precise amount that Poo Prints charges us to run the DNA test”. What next? “We increase our fine to $150 for the second offense in order to discourage repeat offenders.” And the rationale? “We don’t take any pleasure in fining campers, but we feel everyone appreciates a clean park.”

Whatever is next?

Will other RV parks follow suit and demand dog DNA samples from guests? Woodsmoke’s managers say they’ve gotten plenty of calls from other RV park owners, wanting to know how the process works. It’s easy to foresee the day that cheek swabs or hair samples could be a standard registration desk request. It could become so common, that perhaps some wag will start their own TV crime investigation show based on doggy DNA. We can hear the theme song already: “Who are you? Poo? Poo? Poo? Poo?”

What do you think? Would you appreciate—or excoriate—having RV parks do the DNA doo-doo thing? Fill out the form below, and enter “Dog DNA” on the subject line.

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Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña went from childhood tent camping to RVing in the 1980s when the ground got too hard. They've been tutored in the ways of RVing (and RV repair) by a series of rigs, from truck campers, to a fifth-wheel, and several travel trailers. In addition to writing scores of articles on RVing topics, they've also taught college classes for folks new to RVing. They authored the book, RV Boondocking Basics.


  1. This is a Ford Vs Chevy, Democrat Vs Republican, no win divisive issue that is really Dog Lovers Vs non-dog lovers. Won’t solve anything, but will sure create dissension.

  2. Good Gravy! I pick up more opossum, raccoon, and cat poop out of my back yard each week than I have ever seen dog poop where I camp. Should people pick up after their pets? Yes! Do I? Yes. “Stuff” Happens. When did we become so {bleeped}?

  3. We travel with a dog and even considered staying at Woodsmoke. Ended up staying at a park in Naples where we arrived and learned it had a no dog walking in the park policy. You were required to walk your dog from your site immediately out of the park and onto the busy road. And your dog was not allowed to conduct ANY business on the way out. Most dog unfriendly place we have stayed. They should have just banned dogs.

    But this is understandable. There are those who think dog poo biodegrades overnight or their freedoms are being taken away by being required to pick up after their dogs. The more squawking you’re doing, the more likely you are part of the problem.

    • Great, please let me know of any rv parks that ban dogs. I am tired of “dog walkers” cruising the park looking for someplace for fido to crap.
      Even if they “clean up” it is still a dirty spot for me to step onto and then walk into my rv spreading their crap inside.
      If you think that picking up is enough, then let fido crap onto a plate, pick up, and then eat food from that cleaned plate. Enjoy the taste!
      Keep your crappy dogs in your own yard!

  4. I do not believe dog DNA testing for not cleaning up is going to be a popular tool. It is simply too expensive. They might claim to have done the testing though,

  5. I manage a condo complex with 150+ nightly rental condos (airbnb etc). We have over 100 absentee landlords and a low estimate of 5000 guests a year. Some of the condos are dog friendly. Maybe +- 1000 dogs a year. Sigh.

    I am looking for a better mousetrap!

    We can’t do dna. And I think I would pay less for daily poop pu than to administer dna

    So here’s some possibilities. Please give your opinion (maybe RV Travel could do a survey. May apply to RVers?)

    1: Signage & Poop Stations with baggies and clean poop cans. I am even thinking of posting a number that can receive txt photos of the crime in progress!

    2. $10 a day (collected from hosts who allow dogs) with the money to be used to pay for pickup of poop left by scofflaws.

    3. Monthly fee paid by all owners for the same usage. Easier to collect and may get owners to ban dogs altogether. Service dogs & owners dogs would need to be exempt.

    Thoughts please?

    • What really is frustrating with your scenario is that there are so many dog owners who don’t have enough respect for others to pick up after their pooch. Too many Americans have the attitude of “someone else can clean up after me (and my dog)”. So much for personal responsibility!

    • I don’t have a dog (but I do love them), so I would love to stay at a place that is proactive in encouraging dog owners to pick-up after themselves.

      Seems that a doggie passport would be a great idea. You dog owners could pay a one-time $40 fee to get the passport for your dog, then not have to pay at each park with a similar policy. Just show the passport to the CG, they write down the number, then you are good.

  6. I have mixed feelings, but understand.

    We travel with dogs…big dogs…and ALWAYS pick up after them, even on hiking trails out in the woods. But most campgrounds we have been at have some people that do not pick up after their dog. I hate seeing dog crap left by someone else because I am keenly aware of the impact this has on others overall impression of dogs in campgrounds. Goes along with those that do not control their constantly yapping mutts or those that refuse to obey leash rules.

    A few campgrounds we have been to have a “reporting” policy encouraging campers who witness a fellow camper not cleaning up a pet’s duty to notify the office of the offender. Some have fines to offenders and rewards to reporters. That system seemed to work in those campgrounds. It could be subject to erroneous reports, however.

  7. I suspect this is really just another ploy to squeeze more money out of campers. Has anyone actually had to pay a fine to a campground?

  8. Wow! Crazy, is all I can think of. I am fed up with people not picking up after their dogs. But I don’t know if DNA is the solution. I can’t believe people aren’t better than this. So sad. Come on people, have some respect and responsibility.

    • Quite to the contrary…. I would go to this RV park as I would know there would not be dog poop all over… or at least a lot less of it..

      If people do not take responsibility for themselves, others will have to step in. It is an unfortunate truth nowadays.

  9. We have stayed at parks that have cameras throughout so that helps see who is not picking up. One had doggie bag stations all over with trash cans. Was helpful.

  10. Pathetic. Mandates, carrying vaccine cards (the mark of the beast), dog poop screening. This nanny state thing is out of control. As far as campgrounds are concerned I see it as a thinly disguised money generator. Camping is less and less on my recreation agenda.

    • It has nothing to do with a nanny state….people are just tired of others not picking up after their dogs. I applaud the campground for trying to do something about it. If I was a campground owner, I sure would not want to have to go around picking up someone else’s dog $#@&.

      Do you have a better idea?

      • Rich, as a dog owner, I agree with you. Unfortunately, a few very lazy people make these things come about that make the rest of the dog owners that do things right suffer.

        I can’t blame the park for this. It’s just sad that some dog owners are so inconsiderate. And it’s not only poop. While we can’t clean up urine, I once saw a lady let her dog pee right on the rather low set water spigot in the empty site next to mine! She just stood there and watched her dog lift it’s leg and do it! That was when I started carrying a spray bottle of bleach to disinfect spigots before hookup. 🙁

  11. Our German Shepard always shares her RV travels with us, so I always clean up “behind’ her. I cannot remember ever seeing anyone not doing the same thing, so most people are decent about that. Now, just for fun, I wanna see someone try to swab her mouth. I’ll just stand back and watch the fun.

  12. Sad to say but I think most of the ‘dna threat’ is bluster designed as a deterent.

    Daily or even weekly stays are going to be gone before the dna registration is back let alone the doo doo test

    Have a relative who lived in an urban apt complex that did this.

    Too many stray dogs to make it effective. They would go broke if they tested every sample that was found only to find that on many there was no match.


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