CLEVELAND, Ohio (WCMH) — The FBI is continuing to investigate the illegal release of nearly 10,000 minks from a farm in northwestern Ohio late last year.

The FBI said members of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) claimed responsibility for the release of the animals on Nov. 15 from a Van Wert County farm, as well as other mink releases and vandalism from November 2022 to February 2023.

Among the incidents being investigated by the Cleveland FBI office and the FBI Toledo Resident Agency are:

  • Nov. 8, 2022: ALF releases 100 mink in Massillon, Ohio
  • Nov. 9, 2022: ALF releases 800 mink from Pipkorn Farm in Michigan
  • Nov. 15, 2022: ALF releases 10,000 mink from a farm in Van Wert County
  • Dec. 19, 2022: ALF releases 4,000 mink in Wayland, Michigan
  • Feb. 1, 2023: two women vandalize a semi-trailer at a mink farm in Mercer County, Ohio

On Nov. 15, 2022, law enforcement officials estimated between 25,000 and 40,000 minks were released at the farm in Van Wert County — Lion Farms USA Mink Farm in Hoaglin Township. The suspects destroyed fencing and opened the minks’ cages, police said.

Hours after the release was discovered, the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office said of the animals released, 10,000 minks were unaccounted for. They also said many of the minks that were let out of their cages stayed on the property and were corralled by people working at the farm.

Minks are carnivorous mammals that eat freshly killed prey, according to the sheriff’s office. They tend to pick on larger prey and can be a pest to livestock owners and homeowners with ornamental ponds or pets.

ALF, according to its website, seeks to free animals from places it says abuses them, including but not limited to laboratories, factory farms, and fur farms, and to cause economic damage to people and businesses that it says exploits animals. The FBI called ALF a “leaderless movement” and that those who carried out the incidents could be transient.

The FBI said ALF’s actions in Ohio and Michigan “caused significant economic strain” to the businesses, including forcing one farm to close permanently.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324).