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(UPDATE: 4/26/11

From Change.org: “The petition has been updated to include a call for the removal of “Dog Bucks,” the app that supports the original Dog Wars game. While Dog Wars can no longer be found in the Android Market, Google continues to condone the illegal and cruel dog fighting culture by keeping the app running and Dog Bucks available for purchase. Google has not yet released a statement regarding the removal of Dog Wars.”)


I hesitated after reading an email from change.org requesting me, along with other bloggers, to amplify the pressure on Google to block a dog fighting app for Android smartphones called “Dog Wars: Raise your dog to beat the best” (by Kage Games, LLC) in which the user trains, waters, feeds, and fight dogs. Change.org says:

This app makes a game out of dog fighting — celebrating cruelty against animals and contributing to the attttude that there’s nothing wrong with using animals in bloodsports. This type of media fuels animal abuse and breed specific legislation, which costs innocent dogs their lives. …

Disgusting? Totally. Vile? Certainly. Despicable? Absolutely. Inciting? Quite possibly.

Then, why my initial equivocation?

My thoughts immediately jumped to what I thought for sure were a slew of smartphone apps depicting the rape and murder of women. (I mean, why not? That stuff is everywhere else in cyber space.)

I felt uneasy about petitioning against dog fighting and not violence against women. I tend not to think in terms of either/or, but rather both/and. If dog fighting and rape are promulgated on smartphone apps, then shouldn’t we lobby Google to block both of them?

While I was certain about the dog fighting app, I wasn’t sure about violence against women apps. I thought I should look around. What did I find? Thousands of Android “adult” apps—typical, sexist, woman objectifying junk. But, unless I missed something, and I well might have since my patience for this excursion into the seamy underbelly of the wide world of smartphone apps quickly wore thin, atrocities committed against women didn’t jump out.

“It is just a video game,” the creator of the Dog Wars app retorts, attacking people who express their offense. Gee. Where have I heard that before?

Pornography was one of the topics we studied when I taught Women Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. “It’s just a fantasy,” the purveyors and consumers of pornography insisted.

What did the research on pornography say? Some studies concluded that viewing violent pornography, in particular, if not inciting college-age men to similar acts, tended to inure them to the impact of those acts on real-life victims. Other research found that after consuming pornography, subjects, again college-age males, were more likely to think that real women should look and behave like the women did in pornography.

It seems to me, that Dog Wars could have a similar, if not worse, effect, because the user is an active participant in the app. For example, Dog Wars instructs the user to “train to dogfight” and “juice your dog.” Controllers are encouraged to inject the virtual dogs with steroids and to set up a dog fighting business to win virtual money. Change.org notes that, “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.” (Italics mine)

I agree with change.org:

Dog fighting is a felony across all 50 states. “Dog Wars” promotes violence and creates a virtual community for a very real crime. Like many sites, Android Market’s policies don’t specifically address animal cruelty, but do state: “Android Market should not be used for unlawful purposes or for promotion of dangerous and illegal activities.”

Android, owned by Google, shouldn’t be allowing this type of app in its market. Tell Android/Google to block “Dog Wars” and stop condoning animal cruelty.

7 things you can do towards removing the Dog Wars app from Google’s Android Market:

  1. Sign the change.org petition: Tell Android to Block Dog Fighting App.
  2. Share the petition with your followers and friends and Twitter and Facebook.
  3. Report the game, Dog Wars, to Android Market on their “Report Inappropriate Apps” page.
  4. Grab the widget for the petition and post it on your blog.
  5. Write a blog post encouraging others to take action.
  6. Join the Facebook protest at Against Game ‘Dog Wars’ https://www.facebook.com/nodogwars
  7. Send an email to Google’s Android Central and to press@google.com telling them to remove the Dog Wars app from Android Market. Here’s a sample letter from change.org:

Dear Google,

I am writing to ask you to remove “Dog Wars” and block Kage Games, LLC from the Android Market.

In this app, users can feed, water, train and fight virtual dogs. While its creators say “it is just a video game,” they also provide tips to their users such as “steroids will help you get stronger but just like real life you still gotta train for max effect.”

By allowing this app, Google/Android is condoning animal cruelty and creating a community for a very real crime. Dog fighting is a felony across all 50 states.

Dog Wars is listed as “A game that will never be in the iPhone app store.” Not because of a preference for your platform, but because the creators don’t believe Apple would allow such a violent, offensive game. Since your policy states: “Android Market should not be used for unlawful purposes or for promotion of dangerous and illegal activities,” this app should not be allowed on your site either.

I urge you to take a stand against felony animal cruelty and remove this app that glorifies dog fighting from the Android Market.

Thank you.

[Your name]

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10 Responses to “Tell Android to Block Dog Fighting App”

  1. […] is also a great new article on dog fighting by Boulder Dog. Deborah Flick makes some interesting comparisons and I really respect what she has to […]

  2. Kristine says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I wasn’t even aware this was a game. I am kind of sickened to think there are people who feel this kind of thing is actually fun.
    It’s also a little relieving to know there are no obvious similar games centred around violence towards women. You have a strong stomach to even venture towards looking for such a thing.

    • Thank you for your comment. Believe me, my quick spin through the sex apps was just that, quick. There could well be apps that make a game of violence against women. I just didn’t see them.

  3. Edie says:

    Thanks for your very thoughtful analysis of this issue. I fell into the “how is this horrible violent game different from all the other horrible violent games” camp, the one that makes me throw up my hands in despair, but the way you’ve explained it clarifies exactly how it’s different. It is promoting a felony. And it is giving very graphic instructions, like giving dog steroids (which would be the equivalent, I think, of a rape game that tells men to give women Roofies). So I appreciate your very clear explanation and will definitely take the actions you suggest.

    • HI Edie, thanks. I’m still not convinced that there aren’t nasty apps about women that contain the sort of stuff you mentioned. All I can say is that during my cursory spin through the so-called adult apps (aren’t they really adolescent apps?) that sort of egregious material didn’t surface. Maybe it’s hidden. Who knows? But, if and when it’s discovered, that too should be protested.

  4. […] a thoughtful explanation about why this app is particularly bad and important to protest, see Boulder Dog, where Deborah Flick explains how it is promoting dangerous behavior in those who play the game […]

  5. Melf says:

    Holy cow. I saw something about this on FB, but to be honest I didn’t believe it was real. That’s so sad. Why would anyone create such a thing? Ugh! I will go sign the petition and some of the other great suggestions you listed. Thanks for bringing it to our attention!

  6. EA Losness says:

    Please stop offering this “game.” Dogs should not be used in this way for entertainment.

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