Thousands of mink were released from their cages at a northwestern Ohio farm in an overnight breaking and entering episode, authorities said Tuesday.
Between 25,000 and 40,000 mink were let loose after a suspect or suspects broke into the Lion Farms USA Mink Farm in Hoaglin Township, Ohio, and destroyed fencing, sending the animals out of their cages sometime overnight Monday into Tuesday, the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
In an update Tuesday afternoon, the sheriff’s office said many of the mink stayed on the farm and some were “corralled by employees,” so only an estimated 10,000 remained on the loose.
Mink are carnivorous mammals that primarily eat fresh kills, the sheriff’s office warned.
“As a result, they can be a bothersome pest for homeowners, livestock owners, and property managers,” the sheriff’s office said. “(Mink) have proven to be especially costly and problematic for poultry ranchers as well as homeowners with ornamental ponds filled with koi and other fish.”
The sheriff’s office urged people not to approach the loose mink because they may bite.
“These (mink) are considered domesticated animals/livestock. Domesticated mink generally will not survive in the wild because they lack natural survival skills,” the sheriff’s office said.
As officials continue to investigate, questions about capturing the escaped mink can be directed to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the sheriff’s office advised.
CNN reached out to the Lion Farms USA Mink Farm for more information and received a message indicating the voice mailbox was full.