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

Van Wert, Ohio. (WPTA) – Mink on the Run! On Tuesday, Van Wert police issued a statement saying that between 25,000 and 40,000 minks have been released from their cages at the Lion Farms USA Mink Farm in Van Wert, Ohio.

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

“The squirrel’s face was bitten off and the mink was eating it,” said Van Wert resident Xaver Buzzard.

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

“If they survive, if they can feed themselves and stay warm by next winter, they will wreak havoc on small game populations,” Buzzard said.

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

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

Meyer says they are cooperating with the local police.

“If someone has a mac on their property, this may be a situation where they feel it is appropriate for the hunter to come and solve the problem that way, then they should do it,” said Van Wert County Sheriff Tom Reigenbach. “But a landlord who is faced with a different circumstance with a mink intrusion on their property 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 mink, police say they are still under investigation.

But Meyer believes ALF, or the Animal Liberation Front, is responsible for a spray-painted letter found on the farm. The message says “ALF we will be back”.

If the vandal’s intent was to save the minks, Buzard says, they did just the opposite.

“They’ll either die of cold or starve,” Buzzard said. “They’re going to be cornered and they’re going to be shot because hunters, fishermen, conservationists — we don’t want a bunch of mink running around here.”

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