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

VAN WERT, Ohio. (WPTA) – Minks on the run! On Tuesday, Van Wert police released a statement saying between 25,000 and 40,000 mink were released from their cages at the Lion Farms USA mink farm in Van Wert, Ohio.

Minks may be furry and friendly, but people in the area tell me what they’ve seen isn’t pretty.

“The squirrel had his face chewed off and the mink was eating him,” Van Wert resident Zavier Buzard said.

Buzard lives in Van Wert and says mink can be harmful to the local environment.

“If they survive, if they can feed and stay warm through the coming winter, they’re going to wreak havoc on the populations of the small animal,” Buzard said.

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

Meyer says about 80 percent of the minks were captured or kept in their cages. However, he says they have to shoot and kill the mink because they are susceptible to disease once they are out of the cage.

Meyer says he has the cooperation of the local police.

“If a person has mink on their property, it might be a situation where they feel it’s appropriate for a hunter to come and resolve the issue that way, they should,” said Van Wert County Sheriff Tom Riggenbach. “But a property owner who is faced with another situation where mink come onto 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 the case is still under investigation.

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

Buzard says that if the vandal’s intention was to save the minks, they did the opposite.

“They’re either going to die of cold or they’re going to die of hunger,” Buzard said. “They’re going to be trapped and they’re going to be shot because hunters, trappers and conservationists — we don’t want a herd of mink running around here.”

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