Google should permanently muzzle Dog Wars app, LAPD union chief says
The head of the Los Angeles police union urged the chief executive officer of Google to step in and permanently pull the controversial Dog Wars virtual dogfighting game app from its phone app marketplace.
In the letter sent Thursday to Google Chief Executive Officer Larry Page, Los Angeles Police Protective League President Paul M. Weber urged Google "to do the right thing and ban this game permanently."
"The game teaches users how to breed, train, fight, medicate and kill virtual dogs," Weber wrote on behalf of the union's 9,900 rank-and-file members. "The entire concept is repulsive and sickening," Weber said, noting that the app simulates dog fighting, which is a felony offense in all 50 states.
The Dog Wars app for the Android smart phone operating system encourages players to "Raise your dog to beat the best" and allows players to train a virtual pit bull to fight other virtual dogs and build street cred that "puts money in your pocket and lets you earn more in fights."
The company's website notes that the game player has a "gun for police raids and can inject the dog with steroids."
A Google representative said the application was "removed based on a trademark infringement complaint" but did not immediately say whether the app would be sold again if those issues were resolved.
But Weber urged Page to ensure that Dog Wars was permanently muzzled, particularly at a time of increasing violence nationally against police officers.
Animal welfare groups, including the Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, have echoed those sentiments, as has Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, who was convicted and imprisoned for dogfighting.
Kage Games, the creators of a dogfighting phone application that has been assailed by animal protection groups and police officials, said in an email to The Times this week that the game was meant to educate the public on the evils of animal cruelty.
"We are in fact animal lovers ourselves," the email said. "This is our groundbreaking way to raise money/awareness to aid REAL dogs in need, execute freedom of expression, and serve as a demonstration to the competing platform that will not allow us as developers to release software without prejudgment."
Although the application has already been taken down, Kage Games has told some media outlets that it removed Dog Wars to work on updates, which may indicate that the game will be rereleased soon.
-- Andrew Blankstein