- Thousands of mink are on the loose in Ohio after someone broke into and vandalized a farm.
- The mink are not a “significant threat to people,” according to the Van Wert County Sheriff.
- A large population of the mink were killed by traffic on a highway.
Thousands of furry creatures have been on the lam in northwest Ohio since Tuesday.
An individual broke into Lion Farms USA in Van Wert County, Ohio, “during the overnight hours of November 15, 2022” setting between 25,000 to 40,000 mink loose from their cages, the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Department said in a press release Tuesday.
The sheriff’s department is investigating the incident. Eddie Meyer, who manages the farm, estimated that the incident occurred between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m., according to WANE-TV.
Sheriff Thomas Riggenbach told The New York Times on Wednesday that he doesn’t believe that the mink are a “significant threat to people.”
But, he added that the mink still could go after small animals and livestock nearby. “I don’t want to encourage people to approach them and try to capture them on their own,” Riggenbach continued.
“These minks are considered domesticated animals/livestock,” the sheriff’s department said in their press release continued. “Domesticated mink generally will not survive in the wild because they lack natural survival skills.”
While the farm was able to corral an undetermined number of the mink that remained on the property, a large population of them was killed on the highway, according to WDIV, and an estimated 10,000 remained at large as of the sheriff’s 3:30 pm update on Tuesday.
“We had to have our department of transportation come out this morning to assess the highway road condition because of the number of animals that had been killed by traffic, and get the roadway cleaned off to avoid having any safety issues that way,” Sheriff Riggenbach said, saying that a plow had to be brought to clean up.
The AWOL mink leave Ohio residents in considerably less danger than the 2011 Zanesville Zoo escape — which left 50 animals and one person dead.
The Van Wert County Sheriff’s Department and Lion Farms USA did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.