Released mink: 10,000 animals from Van Wert farm still missing

HOAGLIN TOWNSHIP — Of the 25,00 to 40,000 mink let loose from Lion Farms USA in Van Wert Tuesday morning, about 10,000 remain missing, according to the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office.

In a release, the agency said the original estimate was based on the number of the animals released from their cages but employees corralled thousands of those roaming on the farm throughout the day.

Police believe someone destroyed fencing on the farm early Tuesday and the mink escaped. Police said Tuesday mink eat primarily “fresh kills” and often hunt prey bigger than themselves, but according to the Wednesday update, these mink are actually domesticated animals and will generally be unable to survive in the wild due to a lack of natural survival skills.

Mink should not be approached as they may bite, and instead people should call Lion Farms or an animal trapper.

Sheriff Thomas Riggenbach said in the release property owners have the right to protect animals and perts from the mink, but firing a weapon in municipal areas “can be a violation of law.”

Those with questions about trapping or hunting mink should contact the Findlay Ohio Department of Natural Resource at 800-945-3543.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information can contact the sheriff’s office at 419-238-3866 or Van Wert County Crime Stoppers at 419-238-7867.