By Lisa Spector, Juilliard Graduate, Canine Music Expert and co-founder of Through a Dog’s Ear.
An Android Dog Fighting App encouraging users to “feed, water, train and fight” virtual dogs was recently pulled off the Andorid market on April 28th, after protest from the Humane Society, thousands of animal lovers, and even from NFL player Michael Vick. By April 27th, over 100,000 people had downloaded the free app, according to the Twitter page of it’s developer, Kage Games. And yet, still on April 28, the website for Kage Games says “Coming Soon… Dog Wars. Raise your dog to beat the best.”
Don’t be fooled, if Dog Wars isn’t coming back on the market, a similar app with a different name is. Dog Bucks is a 99 cent purchasable item that gives your virtual dog 8000 “Dog Bucks” and an adrenaline shot to make sick, injured and dead dogs perform harder, faster, and meaner.
After just reading The Lost Dogs by Jim Gorant, the story behind Michael Vick’s dogs and their tale of rescue and redemption, I am sickened that these apps were developed. And even worse, it was free for children to use without parental consent.
In the book, Gorant tells why people like Vick get easily seduced into the world of dog fighting. “They saw themselves in the dogs. In the exterior toughness and bravado, to a degree, but even more in the animal’s willingness to take on any challenge, to endure pain and injury, to never give up despite long odds and great difficulty. Viewed in such light, the dogs are noble and heroic, and that is how these men view their own struggle against the disadvantages they’ve had to contend with. Even more, there is a certain godlike feeling that comes with knowing that these creatures of superior toughness and strength and will are a product of their own making. The dog men have bred and selected and trained these animals, perfect symbols of their own triumph.”
Next: What you can do to discourage dog fighting apps