Hutterites Ordered to Pay $90K for Poisoned Horses

By Beacon Staff

HELENA — A Hutterite colony near Cut Bank has been ordered to pay $90,274 after two horses belonging to neighboring ranchers died of strychnine poisoning.

The Seville Colony and farm boss Thomas Wipf pleaded guilty in October to misapplication of pesticides after the horses ate strychnine-laced oats being used to kill gophers. Colony secretary Edward Walder pleaded guilty to false statements for lying to an Environmental Protection Agency inspector about the pesticide use.

An EPA cleanup found about 300 acres of illegally applied pesticide.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Monday the colony and Walder received a year of probation, and Wipf six months.

The plea agreement recommended the colony pay restitution to the EPA.

Wipf and Walder were each ordered to pay $1,000 in addition to the $90,274 the colony must pay.