How much does it cost to train a dog to make a Hitler salute?

For Mark Meechan, the answer turns out to be $1,100.

That’s how much the Scotsman was fined this week after being convicted of a hate crime. He had posted videos of his girlfriend’s dog performing a canine variation on the Nazi salute in response to such statements as “Heil Hitler” and “gas the Jews.”

Sheriff Derek O’Carroll of the Airdrie Sheriff’s Court in Scotland rejected Meechan’s explanation that the video was made as a private joke and pointed out that he had “not taken any steps to prevent the video being shared publicly.”

“You deliberately chose the Holocaust as the theme of the video,” O’Carroll said during the sentencing.

The original video, posted in April 2016 on his YouTube channel, Count Dankula, was viewed more than 3 million times before it was removed for violating YouTube’s policy on hate speech. Meechan said on the video that he trained the dog to annoy his girlfriend. He later posted a video in which he apologized for the original dog clips, saying it was a joke and that he has no such political leanings.

Meecham has said he will appeal his conviction, claiming that it sets a dangerous legal precedent against freedom of expression.

JTA Wire Service