This mink was in the parking lot of Lion Farms. (SAM SHRIVER/DHI MEDIA)
This mink was in the parking lot of Lion Farms. (SAM SHRIVER/DHI MEDIA)
BY SAM SHRIVER

Times Bulletin reporter

VAN WERT COUNTY — In a potential act of eco-terrorism, between 25,000 and 40,000 mink from Lion Farms USA Mink Farm in Hoagland Township were released during the overnight hours of Nov. 15.

The Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office is investigating what they are calling a “breaking and entering/vandalism” complaint.

The vandals damaged fencing and released the mink from their cages.

In September of 2013, a group calling itself the Animal Liberation Front boasted of a nighttime raid at a mink farm in Van Wert County. In that raid 150-200 animals had been released.

According to their website in a posting on Nov. 8 of this year, ALF took credit for the release of 1,000 mink near Massilon, Ohio.

It’s not clear whether they were involved in the latest incident in Van Wert County.

ALF told the Times Bulletin that although they were “very pleased” to hear about the incident they have yet to receive an anonymous claim for the action. If it was committed by someone in their group or sympathetic to them they will know within days.

The Van Wert County sheriff, in a news release, warned “local residents and area farmers that minks are carnivorous mammals that stick to a diet consisting of fresh kills. They regularly hunt prey bigger than themselves. As a result, they can be a bothersome pest for homeowners, livestock owners, and property managers. Minks have proven to be especially costly and problematic for poultry ranchers as well as homeowners with ornamental ponds filled with koi and other fish.”

Many of the mink made their way onto the U.S. 127 where they were struck by vehicles.

Workers could be seen in the vicinity of Lion Farm Tuesday morning, armed with rifles, and were shooting the minks that escaped. Other workers were seen picking up dead carcasses of the mink from fields and roadways.

Besides the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office, the incident is being investigated by the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office, ODNR, EMA, and ODOT.

If anybody has information about the incident, contact the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office at 419-238-3866 or Van Wert County Crime Stoppers at 419-239-STOP (7867).