Massive search for tens of thousands of minks released in Van Wert

Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 11:32 PM EST
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VAN WERT, Ohio. (WPTA) - Minks on the run! Tuesday, Van Wert Police released a statement saying between 25,000 and 40,0000 minks were released from their cages at Lion Farms USA Mink Farm in Van Wert, Ohio.

Minks may look furry and friendly, but people in the area tell me what they’ve seen is not pretty.

“The squirrel had its face chewed off and that mink was eating it,” Van Wert resident Zavier Buzard said.

Buzard lives in Van Wert and says minks may be detrimental to the local environment.

“If they survive, if they can feed themselves and stay warm with the winter upcoming, they are going to wreak havoc on populations of the small game,” Buzard said.

Tuesday evening, I spoke with the farm’s manager, Eddie Meyer, who declined my request for an on-camera interview.

Meyer says around 80 percent of the minks have been captured or stayed in their cages. However, he says, they will have to shoot and kill the minks because they are susceptible to disease once outside of the cage.

Meyer says they have the cooperation of local police.

“If an individual has mink on their property, it may be a situation where they feel its appropriate for a trapper to come and resolve the issue that way, then they should do that,” Van Wert County Sheriff Tom Riggenbach said. “But a property owner that is faced with a different circumstance with minks coming on their property, they can take the steps they need to protect what they have.”

When it comes to the group or individual responsible for vandalizing the farm and releasing the minks, police say it’s still under investigation.

But Meyer believes ALF, or the Animal Liberation Front, is responsible because of a spray-painted message that was found on the farm. The message reads “ALF We’ll be back”.

Buzard says if the vandal’s intention was to save the minks, they’ve done the exact opposite.

“They are either going to die of the cold or die of starvation,” Buzard said. “They are gonna get trapped and gonna get shot because hunters, trappers and conservationists – we don’t want a bunch of mink running around here.”