Cairo: An Egyptian court Wednesday sentenced three local men to three years in prison each with hard labour over bludgeoning a dog to death, the toughest verdict in memory against animal abusers in the country. The Misdemeanour Court in the district of Shubra Al Khaima north of Cairo convicted the trio on charges of cruel killing of the dog, thuggery and intimidation of the public in a case that has riveted Egyptians’ attention. The ruling, which can be appealed, was issued a week after the first session of the trial was held. The three had been arrested earlier this month after a video went viral on social media showing men stabbing and bludgeoning the dog to death in a long-standing dispute with his owner. The incident outraged many Egyptians and shed light on animal rights violations in the country. Last week, animal rights advocates held a protest in central Cairo, demanding tougher penalties against abusers.