So here's the deal - icing rival mobsters, rising in the ranks of the mafia, robbing your opponents, doing battle with flame throwers, and everything else portrayed in Mafia Wars is fair game. But pit bulls? Now you've crossed the line, Zynga.
Such is the stance the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have taken, and following a complaint by the organization, Zynga has decided to remove pit bulls from its virtual mafia landscape.
"Depicting 'man's best friend' as a fighting machine can encourage the wrong type of people--those with no heart and no understanding of a dog's needs--to treat these wonderful animals as inanimate objects," PETA executive Tracy Reiman said in a release from the company last month. "If Mark Pincus--who named his company after his own beloved dog, Zinga--can't portray dogs as loyal and loving members of the family, we'd rather he left them out of the game altogether."
According to CNet, the ordeal reeks of PR shenanigans, at least in part. A blog post from PETA points out that in YoVille, another of Zynga's games, proceeds from purchasing a virtual bulldog are donated to the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. In addition, PETA said it is "sending vegan chocolates to Zynga founder and CEO Mark Pincus to thank him for his compassionate decision."
PETA may want to hold off on sending gifts, however. Other animals have either made their way into Mafia Wars, or soon will, including lions and tigers in "Vicious Crates" and a "bloody horse head" item.