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Michael Vick: Dogfighting app for Android glorifies animal cruelty

Michael Vick

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick -- who served prison time on dogfighting-related charges -- has come out against an Android dogfighting application.

Vick released a statement in conjunction with the Humane Society of the United States, calling the game "a step backward."

"I've come to learn the hard way that dogfighting is a dead-end street," Vick said in a statement. "Now, I am on the right side of this issue, and 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."

But the creators of a dogfighting phone application said Monday the game was meant to educate the public on the evils of animal cruelty.

In an email to The Times signed by [email protected], an official for Kage Games said proceeds from the game would benefit animal rescue organizations and the Japanese tsunami relief effort.

The official did not give his real name, citing threats of violence by animal rights activists, and said critics "are entirely missing the point."

"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."

The president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, Paul M. Weber, said he was unswayed by the company's defense and believes the game should be taken off the market and the creators fired.

Weber called the game "absolutely sickening" and said it was "absolutely the wrong message to send to our children."

The Dog Wars app for the Android smartphone 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."

"Pitboss" said the game is still being developed, and the company would be incorporating suggestions from both supporters and detractors "in an effort to create a more socially conscious app that provides a net benefit to dogs, as well as humans."


Dogfighting phone app called 'cruel,' 'sickening' by LAPD union chief

-- Andrew Blankstein
Twitter: @anblanx

Photo: Vick arrives for a meeting with his parole officer in Norfolk, Va. last year. Credit: Steve Helber / Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (25)

So let me get this straight. The creators are "animal lovers" and this "game," replete with steroid injections and gun use, is supposed to raise public awareness of cruelty to animals? Does this mean, there will soon be a child abuse or bully game out to "educate" the public about that? What a bunch of crock! They are unsuccessfully trying to defend an indefensible product with their altruistic spin.

I haven't seen this so-called "educational" game whose creators say it's designed to teach kids how ugly it is to be cruel to animals but it sounds sick and phony to me. This game was designed for one thing---to make somebody a lot of money. As far as Vick is concerned, I don't believe anything he says. He's still trying to get off the bloody hook of dog fighting, a game he found pleasurable and profitable.

This is the dumbest thing I have every heard of. If this company makes 1 cent off this app they should be locked in a room full of mean and hungry pit bulls until the dogs get real hungry.

Sounds a lot like the premise to pokemon to me. just replace squirtle with a pit, picachu with a rottie and potions for steroids.....

So Vick if you're now on the right side of this issue? how much of your own money do you donate to prevent it? I'm sure that number is zero. You are still a monster in my book who said what he had to to get his career back. I hope when you die you get into Doggie Heaven. An 18-month sentence was a joke, it should have been 18-month for each dog who died at your hands.

This game is training for serial killers and should be banned there is a difference between total fantasy games and a so called game that simulates viscous murder and mutilation, as well as violence towards the police!
Look into the funding of this game and I will bet you its al funded by illegal activities.

You know, I agree that this game is disgusting and morally reprehensible. But nobody is forcing anyone to buy it.

@ test :Yeah and that is the difference between a fantasy game and a game clearly the is training for criminal enterprise it is not a defensible game , it is one a terribly made game I have seen it and two a lame premise any one who would even consider this game marketable should be put in jail.

Did you know there's this mode in Call of Duty where the player gets to kill hundreds of people?

It's called Call of Duty.

Get off your high horses, hypocrites.

Pitboss is an idiot and this "game" is in no way going to benefit pit bulls or educate the public. The only education that will come from this app is to teach the little ones what one has to have in their arsenal to fight pit bulls in the real world - as if that's not a tragic problem already. This app should have been scrapped simply on the basis of what it portrays. If Pitboss is truly an animal lover he would have been horrified at what his design team created. It doesn't matter where proceeds from this game go - the damage is done. Plain and simple, the game should never have been marketed. Google should be ashamed to be even remotely associated with this. I will be writing to them shortly. Having 2 rescued pits in my house, Michael Vick is certainly not my favorite person but if he can use his celebrity status to encourage Google/Android/Kage Games LLC to pull this app, then I'm all for it.

so let me get this straight, the LA Times is writing an article about a dogfighting game and its morality, well what about games like imobsters and mafia wars. these games simulate being involved in organized crime families. players perform missions doing anything from a street mugging to burning down a rival mobster's safe house. why is no one worried about that. or have guns and violence become accepted in our society?

I bet his publicist told him to say that.

Hey, I think they should ban call-of-duty too! Killing people is not a game, and to the extent that it desensitizes the player to killing and maiming people, the game is dangerous to the rest of us.

I know that it's hard to forgive Vick for what he did, but I'm glad that he spoke out on this as he is a role model for many people. He wasn't forced to as a condition of his parole or anything, so maybe it is something he believes.

And the decline of our civilization continues: cage fighting, dog fighting, human slavery, and less education. If you can hold it together for another 30 yrs, people, then I'll be out of your way and you can do any crazy thing you want.

If people need to be educated about animal cruelty and find out what happens to these poor dogs, all they need do is watch a few episodes of Pitboss with Shorty Rossi or Dog Town where some of Vick's pits ended up.

its a GAME!!! HAHA F'N idiots.....everything and everybody is so fake and scared of reality. These games are meant to be played and make people money....these dumb advocate groups for animal cruelty need to move on...fight so realy justice like how the gov't keeps misguiding the us population or CA spending. Its just a GAME!!!

"This is our groundbreaking way to raise money/awareness to aid REAL dogs in need,. . .Uh huh, and if that's true than I'm the Tooth Fairy and Tinkerbell is real!

I realize that freedom of speech is a constitutional right, but with that right comes GREAT responsibility not to do evil. This game is as evil as it comes.

Can you guess who will be the biggest purchasers of this sicko game? Yap, young punk wannabe!

I say remove it and ban it. Next thing you know it'll be out for the XBOX and other consoles, all with the "intention" of showing how cruel the sport is. . .Yeah, Right!

By the way, does everyone out there know that Amazon sells materials with instructions for dog fighting? They refuse to remove these materials from their inventory. I have not purchased anything from Amazon since I learned about this and I suggest everyone else who cares about animal cruelty do the same.

I wrote an email to [email protected] and received the reply copied below. I found their reply totally lame and irresponsible. I think more people should write to kagegames and tell them what you think.
Thank you for your inquiry, question or opinion.

We have been asked who we are and why we did this - it makes for a great
story and we would love to tell it one day, but we can not reveal much
about ourselves for fear of our safety as well as our families right now.
We have received real and extremely violent threats from animal activists.
How people could want to actually injure or kill us in real life over a
rudimentary virtual environment is beyond us.

As stated in the market, this app is in a silent, early beta period and is
not yet finished. We are still under active technical development and had
no chance to file any sort of explanation or promotional material behind
the app or our intentions before we went under media fire.

This is a cultural/generational gap misunderstanding in the shift of
modern media and our effort at new age advocacy. This is our
groundbreaking way to raise money/awareness to aid REAL dogs in need,
execute freedom of expression, and serve a demonstration to the competing
platform that will not allow us as developers to release software without
prejudgement. The selling of electrons and fields in a database can raise
real money for real causes and if executed properly raise awareness for
this terrible blood sport at the same time.

It is doubtful to us that any of our outraged attackers have even played
the game or stopped to ask us the important questions... it has become
total lynch mob mentality at this point.

Below is a version of our official statement we recently added to the
Android Market Description:

"We appreciate everyone's thoughts about our app as we are firm believers
in the right to free speech and the free exchange of ideas.

These freedoms are the building blocks of the Google Android operating
system and the very reason so many users choose Google Android over the

We've heard thoughts from many dog and animal lovers about our app and
first we, as dog owners and dog lovers ourselves, would like to thank you
for your thoughts and for the work many of you do on behalf of our canine
friends. We DO NOT CONDONE violence towards animals or humans, and we are
confident in humankind's ability to distinguish between a rudimentary game
and the consequences of real life.

We are confident this game will be a net benefit to dogs as it has been in
our operating agreement from the start of this project that a portion of
the proceeds go to animal rescue organizations. Further, this is a satire
about the ridiculousness of dogfighting and we believe in the power of a
modern media tool to educate and raise awareness of the real horrors.
Another portion of our proceeds are also being appropriated for
catastrophic human tragedies, the first of which is the Japan Tsunami
relief effort. We encourage everyone to donate to BOTH of these very
important causes.

There are hundreds of games on the Google Android market as well as any
other popular game platform which, if acted out in real life, would be
illegal. What makes the Google Android platform special is it gives the
freedom and responsibility to the individual users to decide what to put
on their phones as opposed to the phone carriers and app stores making
value judgments on our behalf. The Google Android platform does, however,
explicitly state, "We don't allow content that contains nudity, graphic
sex acts, or sexually explicit material." One of the biggest shocks to us
is the number of misguided activists who have questioned or insinuated
that our next app will be some type of rape app:

1) we'd never be interested and 2) people making this argument are out of
line for even suggesting it.

Lastly, we are incorporating suggestions from both our supporters and our
detractors in an effort to create a more socially conscious app that
provides a net benefit to dogs as well as humans. Please remember that
censorship is a very slippery slope."

Best Regards,
Kage Games

Where do I start - xxxx heleo - you are an idiot too. We're not scared of reality, we're horrified by it. Need I say more?

And surfdogh2o - you are right on the money. Why is everything OK in our society today? Everyone needs to get a grip and realize the more we glamourize killing anything for fun is ruining our youth. And yes, it is definitely desensitizing them.

How sad is this? Yet, the reality of it is, there are people who find this sort of thing entertaining. Just because I find something truly loathesome,doesn't mean that it will not have an appeal for someone else. That's just the way it is. You may not agree with what some people say or do, but the bottom line is people,especially grown ones,pretty much do as they want. You can follow them,or decide for yourself that you don't wish to be lumped in with a bunch of knuckleheads. Birds of a feather flock together. I imagine bird-brains do too.

If these game makers were really creative, and really interested in helping dogs, they'd come up with a game about spay/neuter , pet adoption and banning puppy mills. Probably not enough violence for some people. What makes me the most angry is their use of pit bulls, who already have a bad rap, and that is very sad (my pit bull is sad too).

Sounds like a Phil Hendrie skit to me.

I know some people think they have the right to be entertained or make money no matter what. But the difference here is the pit bull cannot speak up for itself and it is the victim of dog fighting. Pit bulls have been paying with their lives every day because some low-life wants to make money and get their kicks from watching dogs fight to the death, be tortured, taunted, trained to be aggressive, used as bait dogs, tortured and killed for poor performance and if that isn't enough when a dog fighting ring is busted the victims, the dogs, have been euthanized because some people think they cannot be rehabilitated or don't have the money to do that. The pit bull was originally bred to be nannies for kids until some people cross bred them for this sick and twisted sport and ruined the reputation and future of these dogs. What in God's name is wrong with people? The time has come to stop cruelty to animals and people. We have to fight cruelty. There is no excuse for it and it must be prosecuted and punished. We are supposed to get better as a species and abuse and cruelty of any kind is not acceptable.
— kindness32

So let me get this strait... You can make games about people being built up to kill other people and to commit crimes (Mafia Wars, Grand Theft Auto, etc) but one about animals is not ok?

Every time Michael Vick speaks against dogfighting, he basically implies that the only reason he's against dogfighting is because he got caught doing it.


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