Males in animal cruelty case ordered to pay the county $ 323,292 in damages Native

A father and son who ran a Helena Valley quarter-horse breeding operation have been on Wednesday convicted of aggravated animal cruelty and ordered to pay the county $ 323,292.36 in compensation to take care of the 58 horses taken from their property.

The sentence for Robert and Alan Erickson, which typically grew to become corrosive, fell to Lewis and Clark County District Courtroom Decide Kathy Seeley, who rejected the prosecution’s request to condemn the lads to 180 days in jail. There will likely be no early discharge from supervision.

Nonetheless, they acquired a six-year suspended sentence the place the Erickson household couldn’t personal or take care of horses. The horses faraway from their property won’t be returned and could have new houses. And there can be no early launch from the six-year suspended sentence.

“This was not a livelihood, it is a form of unusual pastime these guys had,” Seeley stated.

Lewis and Clark’s Deputy Legal professional Fallon Stanton was happy with the decide’s choice.

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“I am glad we have lastly received them on to a greater place,” she stated of the horses.

Protection lawyer Carl Jensen speaks with Decide Kathey Seeley through the sentencing of Robert and Alan Erickson in Lewis and Clark District Courtroom on Wednesday.

THOM BRIDGE, Impartial Report

Robert Erickson’s lawyer, Carl Jensen, stated his shopper plans to enchantment.

Throughout the sentencing, it was revealed that Ericksons now had a goat on their property, prompting the decide to say through the sentencing: “I am not going to take care of the goat, I am sorry.”

The Erickson household ran a quarter-horse breeding operation that was attacked by Lewis and the Clark County Sheriff’s Workplace on June 1, 2021. Almost 60 horses have been seized by the sheriff’s deputy, a U.S. Forest Service Ranger and a Division of Livestock worker, and moved to Lewis. and Clark County Fairground.

Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton stated earlier that the horses are actually elsewhere.

County-contracted veterinarians discovered that lots of the horses confirmed indicators of neglect. One of many horses needed to be euthanized whereas within the custody of Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Workplaces because of the neglect.

Alan Erickson has beforehand reached an settlement in alternate for his responsible plea, and a jury discovered Robert Erickson responsible in April.

Robert Erickson, who stated his lawsuit “was a complete lot of lies,” instructed officers he had vital belongings, however he wouldn’t disclose a complete.

However on Wednesday, he estimated the worth of the horses taken from his property by the county to be $ 3 million, noting that one of many horses was a valued stud.

Legal professional Ellie Boldman, who represented Alan Erickson, stated the horses ought to have stayed on the property with Ericksons and supervised care. Boldman, a Democratic state consultant, stated that when Montana modifications, it is dropping its sanity.

“The federal government didn’t have the proper to do what it did on this case,” she stated, including that her shopper was a person who loves horses.

One other of Robert Erickson’s sons, Clayton, was arrested exterior the county courthouse in April on a warrant for a former DUI. He entered into an settlement on deferred prosecution filed on April 8. So long as he doesn’t violate the phrases of the settlement, the animal cruelty cost will likely be dismissed in 5 years.

In 2018, an animal management officer responded to a name a few wounded horse trapped in barbed wire at an deal with on Fantasy Street, from which Ericksons was later thrown out, officers stated.

The officer reported that he noticed grasslands that have been “poorly maintained with sections of wire and a considerable amount of particles strewn on the bottom. The pasture was nothing however rocks, dust and particles with no vegetation wherever,” the assertion stated.

The court docket paperwork proceed to element the continued monitoring of the operation of the animal management employee. Horses have been discovered with tears, hernias, lumbar accidents, cracked hooves and in depth mats.

Seeley stated the proof was offered through the trial and the jury reached its choice. She stated she has not heard from a veterinarian who helps the defendants’ egocentric statements.

She stated she didn’t suppose the Ericksons have been unhealthy folks at their core, however they weren’t outfitted to take care of horses.

Dutton stated Wednesday he was happy with the decide’s choice.

“We’re happy that that is over,” he stated, including that the sheriff’s division had submitted a plan for her consideration.

He additionally thanked all of the individuals who have helped take care of the horses.

“I’m grateful for the assist from volunteers and residents of this county,” Dutton stated.

Assistant Editor Phil Drake will be contacted at 406-231-9021.

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