Males in Animal Cruelty Case Ordered to Pay $ 323,292 in Restitution | Native

A father and son who led a horse breeding operation within the Helen Valley have been convicted on Wednesday of a felony associated to animal cruelty and ordered to pay the county $ 323,292.36 in compensation for the care of 58 horses seized from their property.

Robert and Alan Erickson’s sentence, which typically grew to become caustic, was handed right down to District Courtroom Choose Lewis and Clark Katie Seeley, who rejected the prosecution’s request to condemn the boys to 180 days in jail. There shall be no early dismissal.

Nevertheless, they obtained six years of suspended imprisonment, for which the Ericksons couldn’t personal or look after horses. Horses seized from their property won’t return and can obtain new houses. And there shall be no early launch from the six-year reprieve.

“It wasn’t a supply of livelihood, it is a bizarre pastime for these guys,” Sealey stated.

Lewis and Clark County Lawyer Basic Fallon Stanton was happy with the decide’s determination.

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

Protection lawyer Carl Jensen spoke with Choose Katie Seeley in the course of the listening to of the decision in opposition to 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 was planning to attraction.

Throughout the sentencing, it grew to become clear that the Ericksons now had a goat of their possession, prompting the decide in the course of the sentencing to say, “I am not going to cope with a goat, sorry.”

The Ericksons led a horse breeding operation that led to a search of the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Workplace on June 1, 2021. Practically 60 horses have been seized by sheriff’s deputies, a U.S. Forest Service ranger, and a Division of Animal Husbandry worker, and moved to the Lewis and Clark County Honest.

Earlier, Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton stated the horses are actually elsewhere.

Contract veterinarians have discovered that many horses present indicators of neglect. One of many horses was euthanized whereas in custody on the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Workplace attributable to negligence.

Alan Erickson had beforehand entered into an settlement in change for a responsible plea, and in April a jury discovered Robert Erickson responsible.

Robert Erickson, who stated his trial was “a bunch of lies”, informed officers he had important property however didn’t disclose the full quantity.

However on Wednesday, he estimated the worth of the horses confiscated from his county property at $ 3 million, noting that one of many horses was a priceless horse.

Lawyer Ellie Baldman, who represented Alan Erickson, stated the horses needed to keep within the Erickson territory and watch over them. Boldman, a spokesman for the Democratic State, stated the adjustments in Montana have been dropping frequent sense.

“The federal government had no proper to do what it did on this case,” she stated, including that her shopper was a person who cherished horses.

Robert Erickson’s different son, Clayton, was arrested close to the district courthouse in April on a earlier DUI warrant. He entered right into a deferred prosecution settlement filed on April 8. If he doesn’t violate the phrases of the settlement, the accusation of animal cruelty shall be dropped in 5 years.

In 2018, an animal management officer answered a name a couple of wounded horse hooked with barbed wire at Fantasy Street, from which the Ericksons have been later evicted.

The officer stated he was watching pastures that “have been poorly maintained with sections of wire and plenty of garbage scattered on the bottom. The pasture was nothing however stones, grime and particles with none vegetation, “the assertion stated.

The court docket paperwork then element the continued monitoring of the operation by the animal management officer. The horses have been discovered with lacerations, hernias, decrease again accidents, cracked hooves and a big mat.

Seeley stated the proof was introduced in court docket, and the jury made its determination. She stated she had not heard of any veterinarian confirming the defendants’ egocentric allegations.

She stated she didn’t assume the Ericksons have been dangerous folks at their core, however they weren’t outfitted to look after horses.

On Wednesday, Dutton stated he was happy with the decide’s determination.

“We’re glad it is over,” he stated, including that the sheriff’s division had submitted a plan to her.

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

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

Assistant Editor Phil Drake might be reached at 406-231-9021.

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