A man who posted an online video clip in which he taught a dog to give a Nazi salute when he said “sieg heil” or “gas the Jews” has appeared in court charged with a hate crime.
Mark Meechan, 29, of Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, has denied any wrongdoing, claiming he taught the pug the salute in an effort to annoy his girlfriend, who owned the dog.
At the beginning of the video, Mr Meechan can be heard saying: “My girlfriend is always ranting and raving about how cute and adorable her wee dog is so I thought I would turn him into the least cute thing I could think of, which is a Nazi.”
The dog can be seen stretching out his paw in a clear attempt at the salute when given the “sieg heil” command. It is also shown watching films of Hitler giving speeches at Nazi rallies.
Ephraim Borowski, director of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC) told Airdrie sheriff court that the video was extremely offensive.
“In many ways, the bit I found most offensive was the repetition of ‘gas the Jews’ rather than the dog itself”, he said.
“The other thing that struck me was the explicit statement that this was intended to give offence and intended to be the most offensive thing he could think of and then he says he isn’t a racist. But unfortunately we hear that all the time from people.
“I’m no historian but it is the marching signal of the Nazi stormtroopers who contributed and supported the murder of six million Jews, including members of my own family, and I take this all slightly personally”, Mr Borowski continued, adding that the SCoJeC website had been “bombarded with abusive comments” after the video appeared online.
“Material of this kind goes to normalise the antisemitic views that frankly we thought we had seen the last of”, he said.
“The Holocaust is not a subject for jocular content.”
The court has also seen a later video where Mr Meechan can be seen apologising for any offence caused.
The trial continues.