Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick recently joined the U.S. Humane Society in speaking out against a phone application that allows players to have virtual dog fights.
“Dog Wars,” developed by Kage Games, was criticized by Vick and Humane Society officials in a statement on the organization’s Web site.
“I’ve come to learn the hard way that dog fighting is a dead-end street, “Vick’s statement read. “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 a .”
The former Atlanta Falcons player went to jail in 2008 after being convicted of a felony for heading a dog fighting ring. He was released in 2009 after spending more than a year in prison.
According to the national nonprofit Change.Org, the app is exclusively for smart phones which use the Android operating system. Players can feed, water, train and fight dogs. The organization launched a petition to Google, which owns Android, to remove the app from its market and block Kage Games.
“By allowing this app, Google/Android is condoning animal cruelty and creating a community for a very real crime,” the petition read. “Dog fighting is a felony across all 50 states.”
Wayne Parcell, president and CEO of the U.S. Humane Society, echoed the organization’s claims.
“Android should drop ‘Dog Wars’ from its online market and join the national movement to save dogs from this violent practice,” Parcell said in a statement. “Because “Dog Wars” actually instructs players on how to condition a dog using methods that are standard in organized dog fighting, this game may be a virtual training ground for would-be dog fighters. Its timing and message are all wrong.”
Parcell has written extensively on dog fighting, and said he has teamed with Vick to reach out to kids in at-risk communities to steer them away from the illegal practice.
While Dog Wars supporters have said the app “is just a game,” Change.org says Kage tweeted, “#DogWars gametip: steroids will help you get stronger but just like real life you still gotta train for max effect.”