App for That

Celebs, PETA Crusade Against Google and CEO “Larry Pope” Over ‘Dog Wars’ App

dogwars Celebs, PETA Crusade Against Google and CEO Larry Pope Over Dog Wars AppAlicia Silverstone, Michael Vick and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have identified the game “Dog Wars,” available in the Android App Market, as a threat to animal rights. The app has been downloaded more than 100,000 times, according to gamemaker Kage Games, but it was pulled this morning for an update.

“Dog Wars encourages people to train virtual dogs to fight to the death and challenge other phone users to ‘dogfights,'” PETA said on their website. The game also includes giving your dogs steroids.

“As a mom-to-be and someone who has adopted and loved rescued pit bulls, I join PETA’s millions of members in imploring you to cancel this game immediately. If one dog dies as a result of this game, you will not forgive yourself,” Ms. Silverstone wrote.

PETA misidentified Google CEO Larry Page as Larry Pope when initially reporting the news, confusing him with another nefarious executive.

“We sincerely apologize for the mistake. You’re right to hold us to a very high standard. You may be interested to know that Larry Pope is the CEO of Smithfield Foods, a company we do battle with over their abuse of pigs. We looked at it and saw ‘Larry Page’ when we’d actually written ‘Pope.’  I am sure you understand how that can happen. That’s not an excuse as much as an explanation for the mistake,” the organization explained.

While there is nothing in Google’s developer terms of service about violence or animal rights, the company can pull apps at its own discretion. However, it would set a bad precedent to pull a popular game just because it offends PETA–there are scores of apps in the Android Market that could be construed as animal abuse (Bunny Blaster, Deer Hunter, Angry Birds). Part of the appeal of the App Market is the relative freedom it allows developers, who can upload their apps instantly. Apple’s manual approval process, by contrast, takes weeks.

“For those who say this app “teaches kids how to dogfight,” a simple internet search would do the same thing–do you want to ban the internet?” Dog Wars tweeted. Well, do you?!

Follow Adrianne Jeffries on Twitter or via RSS. ajeffries@observer.com