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Add-On Charges for Pets – What’s Your Feeling on This? Is it Fair or Not?

October 20, 2010 by · 75 Comments 


“WHAT?  You want $70 in extra fees for my pet to stay with us in our camper for 2 weeks?”

That is what I encountered this past summer at a beach campground we frequently visit.

Our friends that have 3 toy poodles were told upon arrival that their pet up-charge would be $210 for two weeks.  They canceled their reservation and left.

We begrudgingly paid the pet fee and stayed.

How is it that responsible people get punished for those who are irresponsible?  That’s how I feel every time I encounter a campground that charges an extra fee for pets.

I do need to introduce this topic with sensitivity.  It is not my intent to upset any campground owners or campers.

If you’re a pet owner (or even if you’re not) maybe you can relate to my story…..

Yesterday I telephoned the reservation center for one of our Virginia State Park campgrounds.  The reservationists that handled my call was extremely polite and helpful.

Me: “I would like to make a reservation for Belle Isle for Friday and Saturday night.”

Her: “How many people?

Me: “Two”

Her: “Do you have any pets?”

Me: “Yes, a small Dachshund.”

Her: “There is an additional $5 charge per day for each pet – do you want to pay it as part of your registration or at the Ranger Station when you arrive.”

There is an extra $5 per pet, per night charge added on.

Well, as I mentioned earlier, this is not the first time I have been confronted with this fee.  But, still, I was surprised to hear it coming from our State Park service.

Nancy and I are responsible pet owners.  We always carry a poop bag and clean up any mess.  We do not allow Oscar to run free, dig holes, ruin fragile plant life, interfere with other campers or bark excessively.  He spends much of his time indoors asleep on the couch or in my favorite chair.

Needless to say, I see the added fee as a penalty brought on by irresponsible pet owners.  Keep in mind a recent survey indicated that at least 60% of us camp and travel with our pets.  While I have observed some pet owners that will watch their dog make a mess, and then walk away, the majority I observe out for morning walks do clean up after their pet.

Responsible Pet Owners Always Clean Up after their Pets!

I have never observed a campground staff Dog Poo Clean-up Patrol.  I have arrived on campsites with fresh poo in the walking area.  I always clean up pet poo, even if it is not from my dog.  That is part of being a responsible camper.  I also pick up cigarette butts and bottle caps.  It is my belief you should, if possible and appropriate, always leave a campsite cleaner than you find it.

I knew the lady I was talking with did not make the rules, nor could she change them.  Still, I decided to investigate further to discover what responses she may have been trained to give to customers about the added fee.

Me: “Why is there an added charge for a pet?”

Her: “Well, pets get lost and Rangers have to spend time looking for them.  There are also additional grounds maintenance labor costs for cleaning up after pets.”

Me: “Is there an extra charge for unsupervised children that might get lost?”

Her: (Pause) “No sir, the camping fee covers up to six occupants.”

Me: “I see.  Is there an extra charge for smokers that litter the campsite with cigarette butts, consume beverages from bottles with detachable tops that litter the ground or elect to fill the fire pits with empty bottles and cans that I must clean up before we can have a campfire?”

Her: (Another pause) “No sir, but campers that violate our rules on littering can be evicted by a Ranger and even fined if there is a destruction of property.”

Me: “So, why is that same policy not extended to pet owners if they do not clean up their animal’s poo or follow rules?”

Her: (Obviously, becoming a little tired of this exchange but still extremely polite.)  “We do not have enough Rangers to constantly police camper activities.”

Woodall's has an excellent guide on RESPONSIBLE camping with pets - You may order it above.

At that point I ended the Q&A session and repeated to the lady that I understood she was only the purveyor of the information and in no way was responsible.  I also thanked her for her patience and polite answers.  I went ahead and completed the reservation – with the added $10 fee for Oscar – but I was far from being a happy camper.

The way I see it, I had three choices when I was confronted with their pet policy:

1.  Pay the $5 per night up-charge and get on with it.

2.  Lie and tell them I did not plan on bringing a pet (and then bring him anyway).

3.  Not patronize this campground and go somewhere else that did not charge an additional fee for pets.

I’m not into lying.  That is neither the way I was brought up nor the way we brought up our children.

So, #1 and #3 were my choices.  I elected #1 – this time.  Next time I will probably elect #3 and not return.  My choice will hurt both the campground , me and my pet.  That is a shame.  Pet’s love camping too.  In my home, Oscar is part of our family – he goes camping with us when we go.

Let’s get back to the $70 extra charge for Oscar to stay with us two weeks at the beach campground.  They also charge $5 per night for each pet.  If you stay two weeks with one pet, that is an added $70.  Two weeks with two pets is $140 – the charges add up quickly.   My pet will not require $70 in added services.

It is not that I can’t afford the add-on fee; it is the principle behind the reasoning for it to start with.  Make every pet owner pay for those who are irresponsible. That’s part I do NOT like.

I believe that if pet resident fees are added to ever pet owner, so should other fees as stated above.  Equity is important in these changing times.

Even Pets need Camping Weekends!

So – this is the bottom line:  I want to hear from our readers.  I know you are out there because analytics are telling us how many page reads we have each month.  I realize many readers do not like to make public comments, but I hope you will on this topic.  It would really be great to hear from some campground owners that have implemented this fee as well.  There are always two sides to every story.

If for some reason you DO NOT want to comment here, click on FORUMS at the top of the home page and drop a private e-mail to professor95.  I will not reveal your real name – only your commentary.

If my feelings are wrong and unjustified, I want to hear reasoning that will open my mind further.  If it is justified, our campground owners need to know what the public reaction is and what impact, if any; the policy may have on campground selection.

Again, I hope you will take the time to leave a comment.

Many thanks!



75 Responses to “Add-On Charges for Pets – What’s Your Feeling on This? Is it Fair or Not?”
  1. Bear says:

    First, I do not travel with a pet, someday, but not now. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in line behind someone at a reservation desk and have heard similar conversations. It always amazes me. I personally believe that most CG’s feel that they have the owners trapped, add the small fee, most will give in – viola – extra profit. It is a ridiculous charge!!! I rarely see anyone not taking care of their pet properly.

    For the rare times the CG has to clean up poop it can hardly justify all the extra fees you 60%’ers are paying. Let’s face it, I’ve NEVER seen a CG staff member or Ranger cleaning up poo – I HAVE SEEN, plenty of care takers mowing it into that week’s lawn clippings though!!! No extra maintenance cost there…

    I’m not near as gracious as you are regarding the fee, it sucks and the CG’s need to knock it off!!!!

    ~ one disgruntled non-pet owner

  2. Kevin says:

    Is the extra $5 charged so you do not have to clean up after your dog? I know some people that WILL NO LONGER pick up dog feces because they have to pay the extra money. This is a a campground policy that has backfired.

    Do they also charge for cats and parrots? They are pets too. What about service dogs?

    I vote TOTALLY UNFAIR! Spend your money somewhere else! We do camp with our dog.


  3. We have not encountered the up charge for CGs yet. We have been traveling for work and pleasure for several years via car and air and have been poorly treated by airlines and hotels not all but enough to consider not taking our dog with us but she goes where we go! The CG “pet FEE” is outrageous. What can we do?


  4. Jim Walters says:

    Pets? How about cats that never leave the coach? Pets are nearly as dear and a part of the family as children. I have seen far more damage caused by undisciplined children than by undisciplined pets with equally undisciplined parents. That is a jar of worms best left unopened. It might turn around with private campgrounds advertising themselves as “Pet Friendly”. Given a choice, I’ll choose them everytime! The Government owned campgrounds are another matter entirely……

  5. Kenny says:

    Wife and I retired and bought a new Dually Diesel and 5TH wheel. Very first trip out we stopped in Ohio on our way to Florida. Pretty proud of myself as I backed into our site first time. Got out of my truck and stepped in a nice neat pile of dog poo. We had planned on staying at the same camp ground on the way back through but I went right to the office and cancelled that reservation. You know that cost the CG owner more than the $5.00 fee you are talking about.

    You could board your dogs? Please keep them on your lot! Clean up after them! Their stool is loaded with disease! We camp to relax and not to listen to all the barking.

  6. Pete says:

    I feel that they have figured out that most RVers travel with pets and that it makes for another easy source of revenue. I have often observed that owners allow young children to walk the family pet and these children do not even attempt to pick up after the pet. I don’t think I have ever seen a child carrying a bag. That is a failure on the parents or grandparents part.

  7. Doug Bowlsby says:

    I also agree with you. I recently saw an article from FMCA that showed that 92% of us travel with our pets. That is a huge number and should scare these campgrounds who are charging these fees that they cannot get by with it. In my mind it is merely a way for a campground to make more money with out raising their rates. We have been on the road for 2 years now I cannot find any answer for the disparity in rates they are charging as it is. I will never pay for my my pet!

  8. Marlene says:

    We travel in a motorhome with three small pets. We have a fence we put outside the motorhome for the dogs…….they are in it or inside the motorhome. We will not stay at a campground that charges extra for dogs. We pay full price for a campsite that includes two adults and two to four children…..there are no deductions for people travelling wiithout children. There are lots of campgrounds out there to choose from. Irresponsible people ruin it for the rest.

  9. Gene S. says:

    I did travel with an Irish Setter–surprisingly good traveler. Did (begrudgingly) pay fees at private campgrounds and hotels. I could see the hotel justifying the extra charge, but campgrounds? Even if someone doesn’t pick up (I always did), it’s gone within days. There may be some additional cost involved in established pet areas, poo-bag dispensers etc., but $5.00/day/animal seems excessive.

  10. Deborah Branch says:

    I think that is totally absurd. I would not stay there. I have only one dog but he goes where I go. He is also my service dog. This is very unfair. I think most people do pick up after there pets and should not be punished for the ones who don’t. My two cents worth. Ruff! Ruff!

  11. Dinah says:

    We travel with our dog, he is old and we don’t want to leave him in a kennel during the times we travel. We have never stayed at a camping area that is NOT pet friendly. He stays inside the camper 98% of the time, and we pick up after him when we walk him. I am just saying, we will never stay in a place that requires payment for him to be with us.

  12. bill says:

    Our dog is very much part of our family and we never travel without him in our motorhome. We have not been required to pay a extra fee as of our last time out. The only way I’d even consider paying a pet fee would be if we were needing a stop for the night and then would not stay more than the one night.

    We always clean up after him and feel it’s unfair for everyone to pay for someone else’s lazyness, but I certainly understand the point someone else above made about not cleaning it up if you are already paying someone else to do that specific job but doubt this will help get rid of the fee.

  13. TrailtrekerNJ says:

    I have traveled with and paid extra for my pup…..
    If its nominal I book, if extrodinary I pass.
    He is part of the family, we just adjust.

  14. Brent says:

    Hey, some campgrounds feel that 2 campers is basic and add fees for my grandchildren, who do not bark or poop in public. I don’t feel I’m being penalized by the people who have no children, but it is aggravating. I guess we have 2 choices, pay up or camp somewhere else and let the campground owners know of your feelings. Also, if they are advertised in Woodalls or are Good Sam Parks, let them know your feelings. If enough complaints are made, perhaps changes will be made.

  15. Marcie says:

    We travel with 2 Jack Russells. They are indeed part of our family and go where we go. They are always leashed outdoors, and we never walk them with out a poo bag. I don’t think we have ever stayed at a non- pet-friendly camp ground. If the time arises anyone wants to charge an additional fee for them to be with us, they can certainly do without us camping there.

  16. butterbean carpenter says:

    Howdy Randy(professor 95),
    The way I see this is nobody wants the RESPONSIBILITY of doing what’s right, so they try to make
    money by charging everyone for the ones who are irresponsible.. Now when I pay for a campsite
    am I supposed to use the sewer hook-up or like the irresponsible dog-poo leavers just LET IT RUN
    OUT ON THE GROUND.. After all I have paid for SOMEONE ELSE TO CLEAN IT UP!!!!!!!!!! This is a facetious reply to the one who said “you pay your fee.. let someone else clean it up”, BUT IF WE DO

  17. David Cobb says:

    I have beeing camping for thirty years, and have run into some verfy unplesant circumstances.
    It,s the irresponsible pet owners that has created this situation for everyone.
    So for that reasion we leave our dog with family members, who are happy to take care of him.
    I know it’s unrealistic for everyone, but this is the price everyone pays for the irresponsible few.

  18. Richard Johnson says:

    I’ve been camping with pets (1 sm dog) for 40+ years and I’ve ALWAYS picked up the droppings. As irresponsible as it sounds, if I was ever charged a $5/nite fee for a pet charge, I’D STOP CLEANING UP AFTER HIM……../
    After all, if I’m paying $5 per night for him due to cleanup costs, why should I then clean up? I’ve already paid the service charge for someone else to do it.
    Just my 2 cents worth.

  19. We bought the RV to travel with our pets. We have never been hit with a fee, but if we were, we would refuse to pay. Our old dogs are well behaved, we always clean up after them and leave the campsite cleaner than we found it. This is just a way to squeeze more money out of campers. I find a $30 per night fee outrageous when I only plug in for 6-7 hours and don’t use their water, but I pay it. I make a concerted effort to use state parks and public campgrounds as they are nicer and cheaper. Although we stayed in a great private park in Albuquerque this summer.

  20. Michael Smith says:

    I can se both sides of this.On the side of the park it does help pay for upkeep for when people don’t pick up after their pets.
    On the other hand I feel that a daily charge is getting a little out of hand when you stay for long periods of time.
    Our pets are never without us when outside and we always carry plastic bags when we go for a walk.I prefer parks that don’t charge but I have never let paying a fee influence my park choice.

  21. Pete says:

    My wife and I serve as volunteer campground hosts in a state park. I have cleaned up dog poop that some irresponsible person left behind BUT it is rare. I also made the observation that it is almost always left by a dog being walked by a child!! I have never seen a dog kill any wildlife in “our” park. I wish I could say the same for children! Let me say I do love kids and have a very good rapport with almost every one of them that I come in contact with but they get lost, injured and cause damage much more than dogs. I don’t recommend charging extra for cildren but neither should we charge extra for a four and a half pound chihuahua!

  22. Jan and Don says:

    We are full-timers, so boarding our pets is out of the question. We have paid $5.00 per night for our cat at one campground. We won’t do it again, unless it’s extenuating circumstances–and then we’ll make our feelings known in a campground review, on our blog site, or something similar. Our cat doesn’t make any messes. She only goes out on a leash and never does her business outside; she prefers her litter box. We don’t empty the litter box on the property. We have found the pet fees apply for any pet. We will be choosing our campgrounds carefully.

  23. Paul Grant Thompson says:

    I would not stay at a CG that charged for pets. We take care of our pets while camping , clean up any mess they may leave. I know some CGs are having problems making ends meet but this is not the way to fill that gap. My pet has never added any cost to any campground.

  24. Kimberly says:

    Regarding add on fee’s for Pets I believe you are being much to kind to believe it is due to extra work for the campground if you have a pet. Children and guests use more of the service and amenities in the campground then any pet would and there is no additional fee for them. The fee is the easiest way these campgrounds have found to increase profits.

    The fee is similiar to what a hotel would charge. In the case of a hotel however I understand they may have additional vacuuming or dusting to do in a room that has been occupied by a dog or cat. Since camping involves using your own tent or RV I do not see any additional services the campground provides unless of course the pets are allowed in the pool, camp store, or shower facilities to bathe. I suspect they are not, so I am back to profit.

  25. HAMITUPAGAIN says:


  26. Charles says:

    Board the pets. The campgounds are people to enjoy the outdoors, not having to avoid the land mines left by pet owners.

  27. Not fair and no, I probably wouldn’t stay there unless I had a real emergency. There are too many other places out there. The irresponsible make it bad for all of us. We don’t have to pay for their lack of consideration.

  28. We haven’t yet had to pay for our pets, but I have to say I would either lie or leave. I am not going to pay for my pet when I consider us to be very conscientious about barking and picking up after our pet. The children in our camping group have all been taught to pick up after the dogs. I have seen alot more damage to campgrounds by irresponsible children and adults. I rarely see waste left by pets anymore in campgrounds. What about the deer poo and goose poo I usually encounter. It’s just a part of life. I think it’s just a way for the campgrounds to make more money like the airlines we are being gouged at every turn. $5.00 a day is rediculus, if I would have to pay the fee then I would not pick up the waste, after all isn’t that what I’m paying them for–the clean-up? I have never seen a ranger stop and clean up dog poo and for that matter i’ve never seen it happen in a private campground either. I have to tell you a story about our 7 year old neice. She always wants to walk the dogs,but the rule is if you walk the dog, you pick the poo. So she always does the job and takes it very seriously. Now when she sees someone else fail to do so she is indignant. Once while camping she saw a man across the lane from us not pick up after his dog. She came running to us and told us about it, we explained that some people don’t always do the right thing. For some reason she had a brilliant idea. She got a bag and bagged his poo, then she wanted to take it to him. My husband went with her. She knocked on his door. He came to the door and she said she had a present for him. Now you have to understand she is very cute and petite. The man smiled real big and said what do you have sweartheart. She pulled the bag out from behind her back and said you left this behind. My husband said the man stuttered and turned every shade of red. He mumbled something about not having a bag with him and she said that a sandwich bag does nicely. He thanked her and she left. Later we saw the same man but this time he had a bag with him. She has also trained all the dog walkers in her neighbor hood by running out the door everytime she someone not picking up behind their dog and provides them with a bag. It just takes a little training.

  29. jimjan says:

    I see the fees as another revenue stream that campground owners (even the state owned) see as a sure thing. Statistics tell us that there are many pets out there. And few of us are willing to put them in a kennel while we are out enjoying ourselves. We don’t have a dog now but when ‘Ben’ was with us, he enjoyed every moment of his camping experiences.
    I believe that $5/day per pet is grossly unfair.
    My experience is that most dog owners ‘stoop and scoop’. I haven’t suffered noisy or anti social pet experiences.

  30. Karen M. says:

    We have two dogs, both weighing about 50 pounds. We always pick up after them and we always have control of them. We might pay $5 per pet for the entire trip but we would not stay at a campground that charges per day, per pet. I have seen pet owners let their animals run free and not pick up after them, but I have also seen parents let their children tear up trees and run through other people’s campsites — in my opinion, this has been far more stressful. Most of the campgrounds we have gone to simply have separate areas for pets. And most of the campgrounds we go to have volunteers that clean up, never rangers (not that the volunteers should have to clean up after someone’s pet!). We should all be responsible campers, whether with animals or children — or adults for that matter. Maybe the rangers/camp hosts should patrol a little more to keep the rules in check instead of implementing more fees.

  31. Stacy and Mike says:

    After reading all of Randy’s Blob and the comments above, I was appalled! I visited three different areas for Virginia State Parks to see what was posted on line.

    The first is a PDF listing fees for each Stat Park
    At the very bottom is the statement about $5 per night per pet.

    The second is in their FAQ’s, seven items down from the top.

    The third I found does not mention a pet fee, welcomes pets and exempts Service Animals.

    I was SHOCKED! It sounds like some Virginia voters need to let their feelings be known.

    My husband and I travel in a motor home with our two small dogs. We do not use swimming pools, bath houses or playgrounds but still must pay for them in our camping fees. To add a charge for each of our small dogs is wrong and picking out a specific group of campers unfairly.

    I have decided not to visit any Virginia State Park Campgrounds in the future if this policy remains in effect.


    I am nearer to 80 than to 70 so i have been camping a long time,inculding this past week-end and have never be charged a pet fee.. But the cg tries to charge me for a pet i will leave its bad enough that you pay the cg fee’s and then have to pay extra for electric and dumping stations.. it’s just another way of making extra profits……..

  33. Janet says:

    We camp with our dog and have paid nominal fees (maybe $2.50/night for a 2 night stay) in the past and I’ve never really thought about it until now. I might have to change my way of thinking after reading the posts…
    We are VERY conscious about not letting our dog bark (eventhough that is what dogs like to do!). most campgrounds have pet policies about not leaving them unattended or letting them bark and I find those are the rules that are usually ignored the most often.
    We also always clean up after him. BUT there are at least 2 times that we have had sites that had dog poop in them when we arrived but to be honest, I don’t recall if we were charged extra to stay or not.

    I probably would not mind paying a nominal fee EVERY time, IF the campground actually checked the campsites and the grounds after it was vacated but… until that time I may have to forego the places that charge a fee.

  34. Gail Duykers says:

    I definitely would not stay at a campground that charges a pet fee. I clean up after my dog each and everytime she poops. I just recently was told, by a friend of mine, that she and her husband were in a campground where there was a $25 fine for not picking up after your dog and the $25 was then given to the person who “ratted”. Sounds like a great idea to me.

  35. Stuhr says:

    Absolutely fair. We were in a campground last week for one week with a barking dog next door. Lots of horror stories about people and their pooping dogs. We were in a RV park in Central Oregon this summer where a couple had 4 large dogs in a 30 ft 5th wheel. All kinds of barking and of course, dog poop. Keep the dogs on the farms.

  36. HAMITUPAGAIN says:


  37. I am the Operations Director for Virginia State Parks. This fee has been in existence in our parks for many years. We established it not to make more money but to compromise between disparate customer groups. We had the pro dogs in campground group and the anti dogs in campground group. The anti dog group made a compelling argument to not allow dogs in our campgrounds. While non-responsible owners are one reason the biggest issue is barking. Dogs are territorial and they bark. The anti dog group complains this ruins their camping experience. The fee was established as a compromise. As a public camping facility we have to be concerned about both groups. We get complaints about the fee and complaints that we allow dogs. Barking dogs are the number one disturbance reported by guests in our parks.

  38. Stacy and Mike says:

    Ms. Hellerman,

    We have been reading all of the comments and are glad that you found this place and gave your feedback. What we do not understand about your answer is how the $5 corrects disparate customer groups. If barking is the problem, does the $5 stop the barking? Or, does it just make the anti-dog group feel better because the people with dogs pay more?

    The question the Professor asked was if the fee was fair or not? Based on your comment about the number of complaints from pet owners, we believe you have discovered many if not most of your campers do not feel it is fair.

  39. Hoby says:

    I am also annoyed at the extra fees–especially since the few places where I paid the extra fees had the worst pet areas I’ve ever seen. My major concern is that the campgrounds are hurting themselves. There was a study done that shows that when people pay the fee, they will stop picking up their poop. The study looked at parents of pre-schoolers. It was important that the parents show up on time–if they were late the teachers had to stay late. Well, they started charging parents for being late, thinking it would reduce the small number of late arrivals they had. Instead, they started showing up late even more because they felt it was a small price to pay and since they were paying, they no longer felt as though they were “putting out” the teachers.

    This study will easily transfer to pet owners. If the park charges the fee, then the owners will begin to think that the extra money should go towards extra maintenance, such as cleaning up after pets. After all, they say that is why they are charging the fee–to pay for cleaning up after pets. It is like nobody ever washes a rental care before they return it (thanks Thomas Friedman for that example) and you do not clean your hotel room before you leave.

    So, the campground owners will find that they will begin to spend more money cleaning up after dogs or start losing customers because of the extra mess. It is a negative spiral that can easily be avoided.

  40. Jeff S. says:

    Most dog owners are very responsible and clean up after their pet, kept the animals under control and traavel by rv because they can take their animals.. I have refused admission to some KOA parks because of the breed of oneof my dogs. I will go elssewhere and seriously complain.

  41. Tlee says:

    Ms Heltman,
    If having had the policy for a long time to charge more for dogs, because of barking mostly, there must be something missing in the description of the policy. It would amaze me if charging owners $5 for the privilege of letting their dogs bark would make those without dogs in the campground very much more happy than if the owners of dogs were not being charged. How is that a compromise? How does that really take the place of the employees on site enforcing rules already in place? If loud parties, drunken brawls, late night generator use, drag racing on park roads, unsanitary disposal of garbage and other waste were being caused by some campers, would some campers be charged an extra fee going in as potential perpetrators and then be allowed to go ahead and perform those acts?

  42. HAMITUPAGAIN says:


  43. Cheryl R says:

    I think all pet owners should boy-cott these CG’s that charge a fee. I am a full timer and spend several months a yr in one park. I constantly patrol the “dog pen” and clean up after others’ pets. My Chihuahua does not poop $5 worth of poop a day for clean up. Someone needs to write a book on CG’s that don’t have a pet fee as pet friendly. If CG’s charge a fee they should be listed as pets “tolerated” for a fee.Since most pets,mine included are part of the family, the pet should be included in the price as 4-6 campers per site. In this day and age it’s all about the almighty dollar and not necessarily about good service anymore.

  44. Jeff B says:

    I camp with a dog. I have observed on almost every trip that a number of patrons haven’t cleaned up after their pet. Those “deposits” are particularly irritating from large dogs just due the size. Also patrons with large dogs don’t show much concern for others that might have a fear of large dogs. When my son was young he was attacked by a German Shepard and required 2 reconstructive surgeries. Small dogs can bite but large dogs can kill or maim, so fear can sometimes be justified. Letting strange dogs loose in campgrounds is saying children or other vulnerable people must stay inside, so free ranging animals is likewise not an option. I for one don’t appreciate it when a dog “marks” his territory on my camper or trucks alloy wheels. The answer is to have responsible owners, somehow a deposit should be posted and collected when a serious intentional violation occurs. On the second occurrence send the camper on their way. Some animals are particularly apt to be non-social and should not be allowed in the campgrounds, which breeds this includes, I leave to others. Noisy irritating children should be subjected to rules as well, but lets not forget they are people, a generation in training that will have to keep the world steady when we are old and need them desperately. Animals can enhance the camping experience, but lets keep it all in perspective. This month in Woodall’s “RV’ing with your Pet” by Julee Meltzer she discusses camping with a non-social aggressive German Shepard and while I know she loved the dog it was only a snapped leash away from a heartache with a child or other person. I’m sorry but this is not responsible ownership, it is not good enough to correct problems like this only after a tragedy. A “known aggressive” dog has no place in a campground available to an unsuspecting public. I don’t think a fee should be required for one dog or maybe even two but common sense should kick in here somewhere. Love is blind and it applies especially to dog owners. I apologize in advance if I have tread on anyone’s feelings but somewhere an honest discussion should begin about this subject. I also understand that I may not be 100% right, but I am also confident I’m not 100% wrong.

  45. Lisa says:

    I so agree with everything you are saying. Only there are a lot of times where we can not afford the extra money. We, unfortunately, live paycheck to paycheck and when we plan a camping trip we try to plan it as close to a budget as possible. My dog, like yours, spends most of his time on the couch or with us. We clean up after our dog (a golden retriever) ALL the time. He does not bark or bother other campers in any way, shape or form. I also have never seen a campground person clean up poop from another dog – it is usually mowed right down.

    We like to camp a lot and with camping prices alone going up due to the economy it is not fair that we pay anywhere from $5 – $10 per night for a dog that most people won’t even know are in the campground until they are walked or they walk by us and the dog is out. I believe the whole thing is a scam for more money. If they have to charge then it should be a flat rate of $1 per night . As you said 60% of campers have pets so they would still be making a lot of money. It’s an astronomical amount they are charging us for absolutely NOTHING.

    Thank you for writing this article. It is SO TRUE.


  46. Dave says:

    I must be traveling to the wrong sites. I found dog poo on over six of the sites we stayed on this summer, out for 10 weeks, August into October. I do not mine pets, but do not believe that I should have to put up with the mess. It has become much worst in the last few years. That said I would rather camp where there are no dogs to contend with.

  47. Paul says:

    We have only had cats for several year since our lab was put down. We have always paid 10-$15 per day to leave our pets with either a sitter or when we had a dog at a kennels. I love most dogs andI see most dog owners picking up after their dogs but it seems that most people that travel with dogs have what I refer to as little yappers. When go camping or we look at as “getting away” and to have to put up with peoples dogs barking (we are in an RV park near Phoenix now and as I write a dog across the driveway is barking) is that fair to me to have to listen to someone’s dog? Five dollars or fifty dollars to the park are not going to keep that dog from disturbing my quiet but if he keeps it up and I have to speak to the park manager about it it will be a problem that may cause him to earn his $5.

    I no doubt sound like an old grouch and most dog owners will say “my dog dose not bark”. I say leave the dog home or at a kennel so I can have my peace and quiet. Though so dog owners will say people should leave their kids home. Face it folks they are dog not people. Nothing looks more silly than some big ex football player looking guy walking his little yapper saying “now Cookie you be a good boy”.

    I must be a red neck

  48. Paul says:

    Someone suggest “pet friendly” camp grounds, I would also like to see “pet less” camp grounds so I don’t have to listen to those dogs that “don’t bark”.

  49. Eric says:

    My partner and I, talked it over and we decided we well not pay any add on fee’s we feel are not warranted or fair!
    An added fee for pet’s is just such a fee. Park owner’s get away with this because the majority of pet owner’s love their pet’s and wouldn’t think of leaving them behind.

    Park management knows this, and slap on a fee where they can get away with it. Pet care is in the Billion’s of Dollars a year. And, they just slapped you.

    Pretty soon they could be asking you at the gate how many bag’s your carrying and slap on another charge. Would you pay it?

    There is no real reason to charge a pet fee, other than they want your money.

    I’m lucky to have a traveling partner that go’s along with whatever decision I make.

    Better than that, my partner well go just about any place and at anytime I choose. He doesn’t seem to mind if we pull up stakes at whatever hour. He doesn’t say a thing.

    My partner is no trouble at all, he in fact no longer much care’s when camper’s keep everyone else up to all hours,and he could care less about the loud music or the drinking, and the sounds that come from the bottle’s and can’s. Late at night.

    I don’t think the generator’s would bother him either. He doesn’t mind if you come in late or leave early in the A.M.

    As long as he get’s his rest, he’s happy. I’m feeling more and more like that myself.

    You see Little Jeffery has lost his hearing now, he never was much of a barker, unless of course he had his buddies over.

    Seem, when folk’s get together in groups, they get a bit loader than normal. Jeffery, can still show those kid’s a thing or two. But, No he’s cool.

    Jeffery is always on the go, “Little Jeffery” comes with me everywhere I go period. He and I go together 98% of the time. I go in someplace and he stay’s or I leave. It’s as simple as that.

    It’s been 13 1/2 years now. We together have only been asked three or four time’s in all those years to leave some place. Come to think of it, they weren’t that great anyway.

    Jeffery has his basket and he’s okay with it. In fact he love’s that basket. Jeffery well sit in or nap as long as I’m not eating. Then of course I better pay attention because he wants into the act.

    He love’s the Lady’s, that guy has so many friends, everybody knows Jeffery. By the time we are ready to leave, everyone want’s to say good bye to “Little Jeffery”.

    Jeffery is 13 1/2 years old. I didn’t say years young because let’s face it, he’s much older in dog years than most of us. His weight is around six (6) lbs.

    I follow him around until he wants to get a pick-him-up, he like’s it when the wind is on the nose.

    About Dog doee, well I pick that up, it’s my only “JOB”, Jeffery wouldn’t stand for anything less. Did I tell you he’s a bit English, yeah he’s a “Yorkie”.

    I’m still not sure he know he’s a dog, because he doesn’t let on like he is, nor is he a offended we are not.

    Charge a fee, an extra fee for a 6 lb.(wet) little guy that doesn’t bark, and is a joy to most anyone.
    Park Owners, You must be out of your minds.

  50. C&J says:

    We have 2 dogs we travel with and base our stays on who does allow the dogs without outrageous charges (both at campground and at hotels). Like most of us, we consider ourselves responsible owners and carry spare bags, even when not walking the dogs. We even dress ourselves and dogs in reflective gear and carry flashlights for our night time walks so everyone can see us and know we’re doing what pet owners are supposed to. (That and one dog is reactive and we need you to know we’re out there so you can warn us in advance)
    Pet fees are tricky. Many campground charge fees for day visitors which are to cover things like the cost of extra water use, wear and tear on the grounds, etc. So why not a pet fee for the same wear and tear of the grounds? Because to us, the pets are part of our family count.
    Now if the campground were to offer us something for the pet fee – say a handful of bags and dog treats to make us and the pets feel more welcomed, bring on the fees. Also, if there is a dedicated area to exercise your pet – one chain has a doggie playground, but my dogs are over 50 lbs and they need more room than that area provides, I want a large area – complete with a place to deposit the waste, I’d also be willing to pay a fee for that perk.

  51. Jacque Coan says:

    Hurray for you!!! I completely agree!! We’ve been camping where three children ran thru our site and when we told them not to they looked like w where in the wrng and continued to do so until they checked out. When we went to the park manager he said he’d talk to the parents which he did bu to no avail.

  52. Frank says:

    My wife and I first encountered this problem about 2 years ago. Actually they had a limit of two dogs, we have 4, ranging from about 10-15LBS. They were at first not going to allow and then said if we only walk two at a time it would be ok. This year I called again and didnt really like the tone of the lady I talked too and explained we had stayed there last year, she then agreed but reluctantly and I think rather snippy continued to tell us how we could be asked to leave with no money return. I finally said I think I will find another campground, to which we did, and no fee and had a very pleasant stay. We have never not cleaned up after our pets. Our pets are almost like children to us now, so leaving them at home is not an option. One reason we purchased a camper again is so our pets could travel with us easier. The added fee, well, do the math! And I know some will say you dont have to have that many pets, which is true, but we do and love each one all the same. The fee is rediculous! I have never seen anyone cleaning up dog poo ohter than other responsible dog owners. Unfortunately it is becoming more and more prevailant, but what can you do? Pay and stay or try and find one in the same area you want to stay that does not charge the fee….to me it is nothing short of extortion. Yes it does frustrate me and I believe it is very unfair.

  53. ellen grider says:

    We stayed at a park in West Memphis,Ar where we were charged $2.00 per night for our pet. We were told it was because of the extra work required to clean up after pets. In the dog walk area where I took my dog, there were trash cans to deposit your doggie bags. The trash cans had not been emptied in weeks it appreared by the smell and flies. The cans were about 1/2 full of deposits and the park was not 1/2 full of campers.

    I think the added pet fee is just another way to make money.

  54. Richard Schaeffer says:

    A fee for a pet in a campground is nothing more than greed on the CG owners part (private or state) . Nothing will ever change because there are more people willing to pay a fee and consider it the “way it is”.

  55. Ogden Tuttle says:

    It’s NOT FAIR !!!!!!!

  56. Barbara says:

    I have a small dog that will travel with me – full-timing in my RV in a year. Where I go, she goes. 10 pounds worth of tiny dog. I would not stay where I had to pay extra.

    However, another thought. If I DID for some reason need to stay in a campground where I was required to pay extra for my dog, I guess I might be justified in feeling I didn’t have to clean up after her. Isn’t that what the extra charge is for? Maybe at campgrounds where all dog owners pay, no one should pick up the mess. Let the owners use the extra money to hire someone to do “poop patrol.”

    Think that would fly?

  57. Doug says:

    I have a small Westie which travels with me everywhere I go. Last year we traveled through 27 US states and fortunately only encountered this ridiculous fee for pets in one location. Lucky as it is becoming more prevalent. I agree entirely that this fee is more of a cash grab as I have yet to see anyone wearing a Poo Patrol Vest walking about a CG cleaning up the pet areas.Campers discarding bottles and cigarette butts are more of a nuisance. I religiously pick up after my “little guy” and carry a flash light when out at night to make sure I never use the darkness as an excuse, as some do. I find the problem of not scooping more with those owners who have large breed dogs (too large a handful!!!). If children can stay free then our pets should be able to. Bottom line – our pets have become very much a part of the family for all of us who have shed the kids and are able to enjoy the freedom of travel in our Motor Homes / RVs so to have that privilege / freedom hindered by a pet tax is outrageous. What ever happened to the term “Pet Friendly”! Oh I know – really means “pay me and I’ll be friendly with rules”.

  58. mari says:

    We have a Standard Poodle that travels were ever we go. We have always clean up after her. I have also cleaned up after others as well.

    I have to say that I feel campgrounds are opeaning a can of worms, and a lot of bad feelings from their potential campers.!! I beleive that we campers will find the campgrounds that charge for the pets to stay will end up being the dirtest campgrounds. They have already got you unhappy before you even go to your site.

  59. Travels with dog... says:

    I’m also one of those that picks up after my dog and deposits left by others. Ditto the cigarette butts, pop tops, trash, etc. HOWEVER, and this is a very large however, if I were to be charged extra for my dog due to his droppings. I WOULD NOT PICK UP AFTER HIM. After all, isn’t that what the extra charge is for? Dog droppings? So obviously the campground has employed someone to pick up the droppings for me.
    Rude on my part? Certainly. But if I’m paying for a service, I might as well use it. You want to charge me for picking up after my dog? Then by all means pick it up for me.

    Just my 2 cents worth………

  60. Bob says:

    We have three small dogs,a three pound chihuahua, ten pound poodle and shitzu. They are litter box trained so we never have to take them outside unless for exercise. Depending and what’s going on whether we pay the extra fee or not.

  61. Lisa says:

    I’m with Barbara. If the CG owner says the fee is for the extra work, then go to it!!! By crackie if they’re charging me for the service, then I’m an idiot to perform it for them. I have 4 children a Rottweiler and a Yorkie. Both pets have to be bribed to get up and walk meanwhile I spend all day making sure my human children aren’t being a nuisance.

    Hey, I hope they start charging for children – I will most definitely allow them to perform those duties! ! !

  62. Dear professor,
    You are right!! However, aren’t you use to paying for other people by now? My children are all grown yet 95% of my property tax goes to schools. My car insurance is high to pay for the “uninsured motorist”. Some people are collecting Social Security who have never contributed a dime. Now I’m going to pay for someone elses health care. It is a spreading epidemic that has now reached the campgrounds. So you have no choice but pay it and move on. I hope to meet you some day and sit around a campfire and complain about it but other than that I don’t think there is a thing we can do.
    If you hear of anyone starting a revolution please let me know.
    Best Regards,
    Will M

  63. L. Cross says:

    Late to the party as usual….I am a VA resident but have not camped in our state parks since we’ve had our RV. We usually stay at military bases and I have never had a problem there. Now that I know about this fee, I will continue to avoid the Virginia state parks. I am a cat owner (and she travels with us). I am ashamed that VA state parks would take such an unfair stance. As others have mentioned, children (and sometimes adults!) are quite more likely to be a nuisance than animals. Give me critters for neighbors any day!

  64. Donnie Anderson says:

    I have been camping with dogs since 1975 and have never encountered such a thing! I will be camping in Virginia this Summer for a night or two. However, If I can slip through I will not pay the $5.00! I pick up behind my dog and no one every knows they are in my Motor Home. I can see them charging for the Cabins or not allowing dogs in the Cabins, but to charge campers is STUPID!

  65. I have a Service Dog, which these evil places are NOT allowed by Federal Law to charge me for her…I told one lady, hey, do you charge someone in a wheelchair extra for HER medical device? Well, why are you charging me for mine? Besides, (as I bring the ADA website up on my smartphone) it’s against the LAW!

    Please keep picking up after your four-legged children…even just so YOU don’t step in the poo. There’s always someone who thinks the rules, while good for the rest of you, don’t apply to them because they are special. Rather than take it out on the CG, take it out on the irresponsible owners you see! =)

  66. shelley gold says:

    When making reservations if i am told there is a charge for dogs i tell them to forget the reservstions. Many RVers have pets if they all refused to stay at A campground that charges extra things will change. If we roll over and play dead other insane charges will soon be added

  67. John Arnold says:

    Amazing that they would charge extra or even think about since it appears that everybody cleans up after their dog. :>)

  68. possumtrotky says:

    I wish all campgrounds charged 5 or 10 dollars a night for animals. I get so tired of seeing doggie poo.
    I would like to see smokers charged the extra 5 or 10 dollars a day .
    I think all children under 18 should have to have a parent with them at all times especially when they are destroying the bathrooms, pools or anything else they can get their hands on.

  69. Marcie says:

    I find that most pet parents are more responsible than kid’s parents. I would choose a park with a “no children allowed” policy over a pary with a “no pets allowed” policy anyday.

  70. We always pay for the other guy. Taxes, Soc.Sec., health and car insurance, its the responsible people paying for the irresponsible people. Lets face it not all pet owners are responsible. Not all parents are either. Last week some one left a disposable diaper on my lawn, 10 feet from my garbage can.
    We just got back from French Creek State Park in PA. They charge $2 extra for a pet approved site even if you don’t have a pet. At least one can refuse to pay and go elsewhere and some times that feels good.

  71. William Hayden says:

    I am currently staying at a pet surcharge campground – $2.50 per night. I agree with everything that has already been said about this ridiculous fee. It is simply another way for campgrounds to increase revenue. I wonder if I can get a rebate for not using their bathrooms, pool, rec room, cable TV, and wi-fi?

  72. Fred Smith says:

    It’s got nothinmg to do with pets. It’s all about the way to put extra cash in the till. The last site we were at, never in 3 days had the trash cans emptied, so I do not know why they were worried about a little pile of POO.

  73. Liz Johns says:

    I would rather have the dog’s messes….Lucky we haven’t encountered that many on the west coast. What gets me is the barking dogs….till the O’dark hours and the kids (yes, I have two of my own). We’ve stayed at state parks & county parks and the barking dogs is beyond. Then the kids running around. We were staying at a county campground in OR a few yrs ago and my husband said the guys bathroom had feces smeared on the walls. Bathroom was previously clean, until a bus load of kids came in. Where is the supervision? We had dogs we traveled with until they had to be put down. Now we travel with our three cats.

  74. Bruce says:

    All I know is that if someone tried to charge me extra for my little dog (Yorky) I’d probably leave and stay somewhere else. I mean, honestly, he’s the best dog, and he’s not even as big as my camping stove. I don’t see what the problem is.

  75. Paul Marcus says:

    I think it's ridiculous to charge for pets. I will never stay in an RV park that charges me for my dogs. They are too greedy for me, and I do not condone greed.

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