Vick criticizes dogfighting video game

A new Android video game in which players train their virtual dogs to fight has some animal lovers in an uproar, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Critics, including the Humane Society and NFL star Michael Vick, are calling for Android to pull the game and for Google to forbid similar releases on its mobile device platform.

"Dog Wars" was originally released on March 8. The game’s tagline reads, "Raise Your Dog to Beat the Best," according to the Android Market website. Players can buy shock collars to help train their virtual dogs.

"Feed, water, train and FIGHT your virtual dog against other player’s [sic]" reads the website offering the free download, created by Kage Games, LLC.

But Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, said this is not a game. Instead, he said, it encourages cruelty to dogs and could be a training ground for young people to try pitting dogs against each other in real life.

"We want to inoculate kids against dogfighting," he said Monday. "It’s horrible."

Pacelle and Michael Vick have issued a statement against the game. Vick, quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles football team, served 21 months in jail for his role in a dogfighting ring.

In a statement to The Wall Street Journal, Vick said the Humane Society brought the app to his attention, and that he has listened to many at-risk children talk about their experiences with dogfighting in their neighborhoods. "This app just sends the wrong message," Vick said.

The Kage Games website was down Monday and an email to the company was not returned.

The company issued a statement on the game’s website, telling people that "Dog Wars" was just a video game.

"Perhaps one day we will make gerbil wars or beta fish wars for people who can’t understand fantasy role play games," the website states.

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