"It's not funny now is it."
That was the opening line of magistrate Doug Dick's sentencing remarks when convicting three Bega Valley men for assaulting a kangaroo in Merimbula's CBD in July.
Travis Nemec, 20, of Eden, Lachlan Westaway, 22, of Wolumla, and Will Smith, 18, appeared in Bega Local Court on Tuesday, October 24, for sentencing.
They had each previously entered guilty pleas to a charge of committing an act of cruelty upon an animal.
In addition, Smith pleaded guilty to vandalising a glass door on the Merimbula laundromat on the same night as the kangaroo incident.
The three men each had their own solicitor, although the court dealt with them all concurrently.
There was a short recess during Tuesday's proceedings when Nemec's solicitor fell ill during her address to the court.
However, she submitted her remarks in writing in order for the sentencing to proceed.
"You've each secured a lawyer so you realise this is regarded as a serious matter," Magistrate Dick said.
"It has also caused a great deal of media interest."
Magistrate Dick explained how he had refused remote access to external "not local" media organisations to the sentencing, but highlighted that the level of interest was "an indication of how the community viewed the matter".
"Violent acts towards animals are indicators of dangerous personalities," he said.
"Each of you has been assessed at a low risk of re-offending, but we can't stop tongues wagging, and this is having an impact on your families as well."
Members of those families were all in court supporting the three men and to hear their sentence.
Nemec, Westaway and Smith were each convicted and fined $2000 for the offence.
They were also sentenced to 150 hours of community service and placed on a 12 month community corrections order (good behaviour bond).
Magistrate Dick said the maximum sentence for an offence of this kind was $44,000 and 12 months in jail.
However, he took into account their early pleas of guilty, genuine remorse at their actions and multiple references attesting the behaviour was "out of character".
"This will be a humbling experience for you," he said, adding that the fine was intended to "still bruise the wallet".
In addition, Smith was fined $800 for the broken window and ordered to pay $1260 in compensation to the laundromat.
All three were told they were to attend alcohol and drug counselling, and personal development courses.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.