Much in the same way the iPhone “Smuggle Truck” app set immigrant-rights groups into a tither, L.A. police (along with the nation's top animal-rights activists) are now fuming over a dogfighting app for Android called “Dog Wars.”

It's just a game, sure…

… but as far as games go, this one's quite the fire-starter: Its product description encourages players to use a “gun for police raids” and “inject the dog with steroids,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Lovely! Here's what LAPD union head Paul Weber has to say about that:

[Weber] said Monday that a dogfighting game application for cellphones should be yanked from the market because it glorifies illegal activity and promotes “cruel and immoral” behavior.

[He] said he was particularly concerned that the Dog Wars game created by Kage Games would be embraced by local gang members and encourage them to engage in dogfighting.

“It's sickening, absolutely sickening,” Weber said. “They should take it down immediately. These animals are defenseless. It's absolutely the wrong message to send to our children.”

Basically, players raise and train a virtual pitbull, then enter him in matches against other fighter dogs in exchange for cash money/”street cred.” It's released at a sensitive time for dogfighting discourse, if you will, after Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was recently busted for heading one such ring. (And now even Vick wants the app pulled! Perfect shortcut to redemption.) L.A. County is no stranger to the brutal practice, either: 17 hurting pitbulls were just rescued from one gnarly setup in Lake Los Angeles.

Credit: Kage Games

Credit: Kage Games

In the incoherent words of the Dog Wars creators:

“Puppy MMA ultimate fighting DUFC with ghetto rap music background and hood rat thug 3d rendered and cartoonized graphics – buy weapons, juice your dog, get bling – tamagotchi has nothing on this virtual pet – rated higher maturity level than jersey shore!!!”

Huh. Is “maturity level” really the rating system we should be using when talking “Jersey Shore” and handheld dogfighting?

Here's the Kage Games response in full:

1. It is just A VIDEO GAME

2. Perhaps one day we will make gerbil wars or beta fish wars for people who can't understand fantasy role play games

3. Just because something is illegal in real life in certain countries, does not mean it is illegal to make a song, movie, or video game about it (looking at you XDA Developer Forums… deleting our beta testing thread and banning our account?!)

4. Just go slingshot some virtual birds to kill some virtual pigs.

5. Go complain to someone who cares about Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Weed Farmer, Smoke a Bowl (these two are listed in the top 15 of casual games on Android Market) and maybe even Sierra's Leisure Suit Larry from 1987.

6. This is listed as a HIGH MATURITY app, and does NOT violate the Terms of Use with the Google market in any way!!!

So now we know the level of reasoning we're dealing with here. But the bedroom company's First Amendment-waving founders have got a point: Where do you draw the line?

For L.A. police, that line would probably be, uh, shooting them. The whole defenseless-puppy thing doesn't help either. Unfortunately, as is always the case with widely decried controversies, Dog Wars' total downloads will probably reach 1 million this week. Sigh.


LA Weekly