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Four hundred dollars.

That’s the fine each of the three men who hanged a dog from a tree until it died will have to pay.

Jelani Samuel, Ayinde Worrell, and David Kingston appeared virtually before San Fernando Magistrate Anslem Leander on Thursday.

The trio who live at Embacadere, San Fernando, pleaded guilty to unlawfully killing a dog, claiming that it was an act of mercy.

The animal which was named Madison was Samuel’s pet.

A video of the animal being strung up by its neck from a tree went viral on social media sparking public outcry.

After being bombarded with calls and messages about the video, Police Commissioner Gary Griffith instructed his officers to launch an investigation which was supervised by now retired Snr Supt Wayne Mohammed.

The men were subsequently arrested and charged.

They initially pleaded not guilty and were granted $15,000 own bail.

During the virtual hearing, the men ages 20, 24 and 32 admitted that they killed the dog on April 11 at Roodal Cemetery in Embacadere.

Outlining the facts of the incident, attorney Cpl Reagan Ramanan said around 9.30 am the accused took a piece of cable wire and placed it around the dog’s neck and hanged the animal from a tree.

WPC Nicole Medina conducted inquires after a video began circulating on social media.

When she confronted Samuel about the incident, he said: “The dog get hit three months ago and was sick and was not eating and I decide to hang the dog because it was interfering with people garbage.”

Medina then went to the scene with a district medical officer who pronounced the black and white mixed breed dog dead.

A necropsy was subsequently performed on the carcass at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex.

In his mitigation plea, attorney Ainsley Lucky said his clients acted out of compassion because the dog was in pain.

Lucky said the dog was injured after being struck by a car months ago and it affected its temperament.

The dog became progressively more ferocious even with Samuel, Lucky said.

On at least three occasions Samuel dropped off Madison at a nearby dog pound, but each time the dog made its way back home.

Lucky said Samuel could no longer control the dog which was also attacking passersby.

Citing the Dangerous Dog Act, he said if a dog is progressively vicious/violent to anyone it is considered dangerous and has to be put down.

He said Samuel, together with his friends, did what they thought was best and convenient.

Quoting famous civil rights activist Mahatma Ghandi, the prosecutor countered than a nation’s moral can be found in the way they treat animals.

Ramanan lamented that the punishment was purely nominal and does not reflect modern society. The offence carries a maximum fine of $1,000.

The magistrate ordered each of them to pay $400 or in default serve three months in prison. They were allowed three months to pay the fine.