A British man who taught his pug to do a Nazi salute when he gave specific verbal commands has been found guilty of a hate crime.
Mark Meechan instructed the dog to perform the salute when he said “sieg heil” or “gas the Jews.” He had uploaded a video of the trick in 2016, which then quickly went viral.
Meechan claimed he taught the dog the salute and the commands to irk his girlfriend, who owned the dog. In the 2016 video, he can be heard saying he wanted to turn the dog “into the least cute thing I could think of, which is a Nazi.”
He later apologized after being arrested, saying he doesn’t “actually hate Jewish people” and that the Holocaust was “an awful thing.”
Meechan was found guilty under the Communications Act, and the judge involved in the case, Sheriff Derek O’Carroll, said that Meechan’s calling the video comedic was no “magic wand” to get off scot-free.
O’Carroll said that the court had taken into account an individual’s freedom of expression, but that such a right “also comes with responsibility.”
Meechan’s lawyer insisted that his client had not acted out of malice, and meant for only a small group of people to see the video. He also added that Meechan “holds tolerant and liberal views.”
Meechan’s sentencing will take place in April.