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Monday, August 29, 2011

Dog Wars: Should Google Ban Virtual Dogfighting Game?

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2011 at 12:20 PM

click to enlarge kage_games_dog_wars_screenshot.jpg

The campaign to have Google remove Dog Wars, a virtual dogfighting game, from the Android market just went viral. More than 41,000 people have signed onto a petition asking for Google to remove the controversial game from the market.

Dog Wars, which was created by Kage Games, sparked a national uproar back in April when critics -- including Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, who was convicted of dogfighting himself -- blasted the game as a training manual for animal abuse and dogfighting. The game allows users to feed, water, and train virtual pit bulls for dogfights.What's more is the website

features an illustration of a pit bull with a bloody muzzle next to the Dog Wars logo.

In April, the game was quietly removed from the Android market, and then resurfaced within 24 hours. Since then, animal activists and even law enforcers have been putting pressure on the Bay Area-based tech company to eliminate the violent game.

"The patience of dog lovers waiting for Google to take this cruel game

off the market is running out," says Robert Pregulman, author of

SeattleDogSpot blog, which started the petition.

All along, KG Games has defended Dog Wars, saying it is simply satire, and that it will actually benefit pups in the long run; the company vowed to donate proceeds from the game to animal groups across the nation.

According to the petition:

"One dedicated player created a video of tips, such as using the guns in the game for protection in police raids. The video also includes photos of dogs tagged with known fighting lines and puppies for sale."
SF Weekly contacted Google to ask whether it plans to budge on the issue. We'll let you know if we hear back. But what we can tell you is that at a Senate hearing in May, Google's Alan Davidson told lawmakers that the company does -- and will -- remove any app that promotes unlawful activity. Dogfighting, by the way, is illegal.

However, the company hasn't responded to activists' call to review Dog Wars again, and consider it in violation of Google's policy, according to petitioners.

"Although Google still has not taken a position on the dog fighting app, activists around the world haven't given up." said Stephanie Feldstein, director of organizing at Change.org. "It's remarkable to see their dedication to keeping animal cruelty from being trivialized or seen as just a game."

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Bio:
Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.

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