An IR View: Cost of seized horses, more help for Denton, MLM amnesty program

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Lewis and Clark County has already spent well over six figures on the horses seized in a Helena Valley animal abuse case, and the price tag is only expected to rise.

As of late November, the county had spent more than $171,000 to care for the nearly 60 horses confiscated from a breeding operation June 1. Sheriff Leo Dutton said he expected that cost to exceed $250,000 by the time the issue is resolved.

County officials did not plan or budget for these expenses. But they are obligated to care for the animals, which are considered evidence, for as the case continues to wind its way through the legal system.

Though one of the horses was too sick to be saved, we are grateful for the county staff and volunteers who have spent countless hours nursing the rest of them back to health.

We hope this case is resolved quickly, and that anyone convicted will be required to pay back every cent.

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Those affected by a devastating wildfire in Denton received more help from the Helena area this week in the form of three semi-truck loads of hay.

Jim Duesenberg, Casey Fitzsimmons, Karl Christians, John Novotny, Andrew Gould, Dave Brown, Snowy Mountain Marketing, the Farm Bureaus of Lewis and Clark and Fergus counties and Joe and Julie Dooling all participated in the effort to provide about 70 tons of hay, which was valued at nearly $23,000.

Helena has also sent firefighters, firefighting equipment, toys, food, dishes and other supplies to Denton, and this is another great example of neighbors helping neighbors across the state.

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Thanks to an amnesty program offered by Montana State Auditor Troy Downing, the number of multi-level marketing companies registered in Montana has more than doubled.

When Downing’s office announced the program last month, he estimated that there were hundreds of MLMs operating in the state, and only 15 of them were registered with his office as required by state law. At least 17 more MLMs seeking amnesty and two others that don’t have participants in Montana and were not seeking amnesty registered by the Dec. 15 deadline for the program, which offered to fine those out of compliance with state law only $1,000 instead of up to $5,000 per violation.

Montanans can now rest assured that these legitimate businesses are not operating an illegal pyramid scheme, and any MLMs that have still failed to register with Downing’s office should be avoided.

That is, if Downing doesn’t shut them down first.