Instant Guide

The 'absolutely sickening' dog-fighting app

A game for Android phones lets players fight with virtual pit bulls, and has many howling in protest... including Michael Vick

Yep, there's an app for everything now... including brutal dog-fighting. Animal lovers and law enforcement officials are outraged over Dog Wars, an app for Android phones that allows players to train a virtual pit bull to fight against other pups. Some have called it "absolutely sickening." Here, a brief guide:

What is this app?
Created by Kage Games, LLC, Dog Wars is a smartphone game where players train a virtual pit bull to fight other dogs, earning virtual street cred and money in the process. "Raise your Dog to Beat the Best!" the game's website insists. "Feed, water, train and FIGHT your virtual dog against other player's... action games, chatroom, many characters and dogs to choose from, virtual store, etc." Elsewhere it's noted that players get a "gun for police raids and can inject the dog with steroids."

Just how mad are animal lovers?
Very. The Humane Society has called for the app to be scrapped. Paul Weber, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, worries that the game might encourage dog-fighting amongst local gang members. "They should take it down immediately. These animals are defenseless. It's absolutely the wrong message to send to our children." Even Michael Vick, the NFL quarterback who did prison time for dog-fighting-related charges, has issued a statement condemning the game. "I've come to learn the hard way that dog-fighting is a dead-end street," Vick says. "I think it's important to send the smart message to kids, and not glorify this form of animal cruelty, even in an Android app."

How have the game's makers responded?
They've defended the game, saying it's all in good fun. "Just because something is illegal in real life in certain countries, does not mean it is illegal to make a song, movie, or video game about it," their statement reads. The game's website also deflects criticism, saying "If you have a bug up your b*tt about the game concept, remember: 1. It is just A VIDEO GAME." It also notes that the phenomenally popular game Angry Birds isn't actually encouraging kids to slingshots birds at pigs.

Is the game still for sale?
Yes, the game remains available for download on the Android Market. The game has never been part of the Apple App Store.

Sources: Los Angeles Times, Android Software, Android Market

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