We have more areas designated for off-leash dog exercising than most California cities, with areas at Vinewood, Beckman, Lodi Lake and Lawrence parks available for man's best friend, and we'll soon be expanding the dog area at Beckman Park to include all of the northern-most basin area. The total area will be more than 9 1/2 acres. In addition, a pathway on the southern edge of Peterson Park is available for on-leash walking of dogs. The dog area at Beckman Park will increase from one acre to 4.1 acres, nearly as large as the dog area at Vinewood Park (4.17 acres). The Parks Division is currently working on creating new signs that designate the area, so the increase will not take effect until the signs are installed. Allowing dogs in these areas does not mean dogs are allowed throughout these parks or in other City parks. The Lodi Municipal Code does not allow dogs in any parks except in designated areas. We do not schedule sports or other activities in dog areas, and expect dog owners to respect our other users, even if they aren't present. For instance, I was recently with our maintenance staff at DeBenedetti Park and noticed a man with his dog off-leash. I approached the resident and informed him of the City ordinance, and suggested he exercise his dog at Beckman Park, just a short distance down Century Boulevard. At that moment, his dog decided it was time to make a deposit, and the owner sheepishly admitted he doesn't pick up after his dog and didn't have a scoop or a bag. Had our park police officer been there, the man could have been subject to two misdemeanor charges and $1,000 in fines: $500 for having his dog in a park and $500 for failing to pick up the mess. Park Superintendent Steve Dutra recently posted notices at the dog parks about the Recreation Commission's discussion two weeks ago, when he announced the potential to expand the Beckman dog park area. Dog parks have an important role in the community; they are great places for people who have something in common to meet, chat, and get some exercise themselves. But not everyone is comfortable around dogs, and not all dog owners are responsible. When dogs are brought to parks where they aren't allowed, it can create conflict between people, not to mention a mess on soccer balls or on the bottom of shoes.