LEBANON, Ore. (AP) – A ranching couple that was fined nearly $18,000 for creating an illegal burn pile that included 40 dead animals has contested the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s penalty and won.

The Capital Press reports a judge reduced the fine to $3,000 because the burn was on residential property, some existing regulations were ambiguous, and the first-time offenders cooperated with state officials to make amends.

The state issued the fine in October 2019, alleging that Wahl Livestock LLC owners Bethany and Mark Wahl in Lebanon had violated two Oregon laws: leaving an open burn unattended and burning illegal materials, including furniture, garbage, dead cattle and dead sheep.

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