Michael Vick: Dogfighting app for Android glorifies animal cruelty
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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."
-- Andrew Blankstein
Photo: Vick arrives for a meeting with his parole officer in Norfolk, Va. last year. Credit: Steve Helber / Associated Press