Thousands of minks were released from a fur facility in Northern Ohio, police say.
In a Facebook post (facebook.com/VANWERT...), the Van Wert County Sheriff's Office said fencing surrounding Lion Farms USA Mink Farm in Hoaglin Township was destroyed overnight on Tuesday, and 25,000 to 40,000 minks were released from their cages.
The sheriff's office is investigating the incident as a breaking and entering and vandalism complaint. Van Wert County is located in Northern Ohio southwest of Toledo, bordering Indiana.
According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, minks are drawn to wooded areas and typically eat small mammals, like muskrats, birds, frogs, eggs, fish and crayfish. The Van Wert County Sherriff's Office warned on Facebook that the newly freed animals could be problematic for local poultry farmers and homeowners with ponds.
In the post, the office listed licensed trappers that locals can call if they need help trapping the minks.
The Ohio State Patrol, Paulding County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio Emergency Management Agency and Ohio Department of Transportation are assisting with the ongoing investigation.
On Nov. 8, the Animal Liberation Front, an animal rights group, posted on its website that a member had released 1,000 minks from a fur facility in Massillon, Ohio, which is about three hours east of Lion Farms.
However, Stark County Sheriff George T. Maier told The Enquirer that no farms in Massillon, or Stark County, have reported missing minks. He said his office has been checking in with nearby fur facilities since hearing about Animal Liberation Front's claim last week.