Dog's Nazi salute lands owner in jail for five months
As a dog lover, Hitler would no doubt have been flattered "Adolf" the part Alsatian mongrel was not only his namesake but also meticulously trained by his Berlin owner to raise his right paw in a Nazi salute every time the command "Heil Hitler!" was uttered.
But in a country where giving the Nazi salute even in jest has been strictly verboten since 1945, Adolf's canine tricks did not amuse the police or the judiciary.
Yesterday his owner, a pensioner named as Roland T, was starting what seemed like a draconian prison term of five months for repeatedly displaying banned Nazi symbols. His pet was dispatched to one of the city's animal homes.
The dog was pictured in newspapers and on Der Spiegel magazine's online site sitting in a kennel with the name "Adolf" chalked across its entrance.
Evamarie Knig, a spokeswoman for the kennel, said she hoped the animal would find a new home soon. "He is healthy and obedient and we think he will find another owner quickly because he is so famous," she said. The dog is to be renamed Adi.
Roland T and his dog first attracted the attention of police in 2003 when the dog saluted as part of his owner's provocative public repertoires of banned Nazi gestures, including wearing Hitler T-shirts and chanting "Sieg Heil".
Earlier this year, judges ruled that Roland T should serve a prison term after suspended jail sentences and fines failed to dissuade him from continuing to display Nazi symbols.
Months before going to jail he had threatened to have the dog put down after claiming that he could no longer afford dog food because of the fines. He said the dog, which he claimed had been born on Hitler's birthday, would be put down on the anniversary of the Nazi leader's death.
The ban on Nazi symbols has been felt even by anti-Nazi activists, who last year were punished for using a swastika with a red slash across it.