Two former US cops have been sentenced to time behind bars and slapped with a four-figure fine after they killed almost a dozen porcupines.
Addison Cox, 28, and Michael Rolerson, 31, admitted to beating 11 of the animals with their batons while on duty for the Rockland Maine Police Department in June last year.
Rolerson was sentenced to 270 days in jail with 20 days suspended, while Cox got 90 days with 10 days suspended, the Bangor Daily News reports.
Both men were also each handed a $1,000 (around £730) fine and ordered to carry out community service.
The pair pleaded guilty to charges of cruelty to animals and night hunting and were fired in September over the incident.
A judge issued Rolerson with a stiffer sentence because he was a senior officer and killed more porcupines, according to the local paper.
Cox reportedly told officials that he looked up to Rolerson and wanted to emulate his behaviour.
However, in documents seen by the Bangor Daily News, District Attorney Natasha Irving said both men’s charges were reduced because they were military veterans and had served active duty.
Rolerson allegedly told the authorities that he’d suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his service for the Marine Corps in Afghanistan.
Irving said that their experience of war zones was a “mitigating factor” in her judgement.
“Ultimately I want them never to hurt another living thing again… I think that addressing the mental health component, I think that’s a really important part of it.”
The animal abuse was revealed in late August after another officer reported the killings to superiors, according to a Maine Warden Service report obtained by the Courier Gazette.
The cruel beatings were filmed on a mobile phone by a third officer who posted the killings to Snapchat, news stationWGME reported.
In one case, Rolerson acknowledged pepper-spraying one of the animals before clubbing it, the outlet reported.
In total, the 31-year-old estimated that he killed eight porcupines, while Cox put his count at three.