Animal rights group PETA has unveiled its own iPhone app as a way to counteract what it sees as the animal cruelty expressed in an Android app that pits dogs against each other.
Originally dubbed "Dog Wars," the app, made by Kage Games and found on the Android Market, touted itself as a way to train virtual pit bulls to fight other dogs and pick up "street cred" along the way. But the game quickly upset members of People for the Ethnical Treatment of Animals and other animal rights groups who called for it to be removed from the app store.
After temporarily being taken down from the Android Market, the $2.99 app quickly resurfaced with the new name of KG Dogfighting but the same theme, proclaiming that "the controversial dogfighting Android "DogWars - Beta" app by Kage Games LLC has been renamed and uploaded here to the market as a paid app!"
Also boasting that the "app will never appear in the iPhone app store"--a reference to Apple's more stringent guidelines--Kage says that the goal is to feed, water, train, and fight your virtual dog against other players.
Even the head of the LA Police Department's officers union has spoken out against the app, according to the Los Angeles Times, calling it "sick" and "disgusting," despite its new name. The app may have especially struck the wrong chord with police officers since it offers game players a gun that they can use in the event of police raids and to inject the virtual dogs with steroids.
In its response, PETA unveiled its own iPhone app last week that highlights stories about animal cruelty, inviting users to share the details on Facebook and Twitter and take action by sending letters of protest to politicians, corporate executives, and other officials. The app also enables people to donate money to the cause through PETA's mobile Web site.
Google, which runs Android Market, has not responded to a request for comment.
Through a public statement sent to CNET, Kage Games has defended itself, saying that "as dog owners and dog lovers ourselves...we do not condone violence towards animals or humans, and we are confident in humankind's ability to distinguish between a rudimentary game and the consequences of real life."
The company said it believes the game will actually benefit dogs in that a portion of the proceeds of the game will go toward animal rescue organizations. Calling the game "a satire about the ridiculousness of dogfighting," Kage sees it as a tool to educate people about the real horrors.