By Leigh Peterson
In the past week, the dog fighting app has disappeared and reappeared. Now it’s back with a new name and price.
The past week has been a rough one for dog lovers, who are signing petitions, writing the media and demanding that Google remove a dog fighting app I initially wrote about last week in Dog Fighting Turned Into a Game. The “game” allows the controller to virtually inject dogs with steroids and fight other dogs for virtual cash.
Here’s a breakdown of what has happened:
Two days after a large dog fighting ring bust in Virginia involving 41 dogs, bslnews.org broke the story of the app. While many are spending a lovely holiday with family and not plugged into the internet, others were helping spread the news and signing a petition against the app at change.org. The petition received 5,000 signatures on its first day (Saturday), and a week later it now has over 17,000. That may sound like a lot, but with reports of over 100,000 downloads of the app itself, I’m not sure protesters are making a big enough impact.
While my boyfriend’s mother cooked up a delicious Aldi’s ham, I was sleuthing. I spent part of Easter Sunday searching various Secretary of State websites, trying to figure out where the game developer, Kage Games LLC, is registered. I found one in Delaware, but unfortunately was unable to find information there as to who is behind the app. The developers are still nameless, citing threats against themselves and their families.
Monday, April 25
With the holiday over, more begin to learn about the game and the debate grows between those against it, those for the “open source” community of the android marketplace, and those who argue “it’s just a game.” I stand firmly in my belief that “dog fighting” and “game” should never appear in the same sentence.
Organizations, celebrities, the LAPD and former dog fighter Michael Vick came out against the app.
Tuesday, April 26
Makers of a Facebook game with the same name–but in no way related to the android market app–announced that Google acknowledged their copyright infringement suit against the game. When the game went down later in the day, false articles began to spread that the game was taken down due to protests. In fact, Google was only beginning the removal process, and the developer of the offensive app had only taken it down for tweaking.
Wednesday, April 27
The game is back up on the android marketplace.
Thursday, April 28
Google removes the app due to trademark infringement.
Saturday, April 30
The game reappears on the android market as KG Dogfighting and is now $2.99 to download instead of free. I won’t give the app a courtesy link from my column, but you can search for it if you wish to see it.
The developers now claim that part of their proceeds will go to animal right causes. Yet the game still has the words “train to dogfight” as one of its keywords, and that’s still what it does. They also changed their tag line from “train your dog to the beat the best” to “raise your dog to beat the best,” as if raising an innocent puppy to fight is any better.
Five days after I wrote on my own blog, “animals were harmed in the inspiration of this app,” the new app page includes the disclaimer, “NO DOGS WERE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS APP.”
To those who debate that Angry Birds is also a game that depicts animal abuse, I say it’s a non-issue. There is no national epidemic of underground bird flinging rings and police raids. No gangs are making money off of backyard bird breeding and bird flinging bets.
In 2009, Apple removed a baby shaking game from the iPhone app store. I would love to see Google have the same decency and remove another game that allows the controller to virtually abuse defenseless, voiceless beings.
Please continue to denounce the app: