Scott Donahue of Berkeley said the medallions on the bases of the sculptures in the city's waterfront park depict dogs sniffing, pooping and humping one another, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday.
Donahue, who was paid $196,000 through Berkeley's public arts program, said the bottom sections of the sculptures, which also depict kite flying and other human activities, are "showing dogs doing what dogs do at the dog park."
"I am a realist," Donahue said. "You can celebrate a place in both a serious and lighthearted way."
Berkeley civic arts coordinator Mary Ann Merker said the dog-themed parts of the sculptures are not immediately obvious to viewers.
"You have to keep in perspective that there are ... 11 figures on a sculpture that's 28 feet high, so it's really strange to pick out 5 inches," Merker said. "I don't believe it was meant to be that offensive, and you have to really look to find it."