About 450 mink were let loose at a southeastern Minnesota mink ranch sometime between Sunday night and Monday morning, part of a national effort by animal rights activists, the Star Tribune reports.
Farmers, workers and friends of the Myhre ranch in Grand Meadow, about 25 miles south of Rochester, scrambled to collect the animals Monday. Owner Einar Myhre told the newspaper that all but 75 minks were reclaimed.
“They are lawbreakers who think they are doing a good thing,” Myhre said of the culprits.
The domestic animals would not survive in the wild. Myhre said one mink was found dead after being run over by a car while others could become sick and die from being in the creek.
Mower County Sheriff Terese Amazi told the Albert Lea Tribune that this isn't the first time the ranch has been targeted.
Two days earlier, about 2,000 mink were released from a fur farm in eastern Wisconsin, the Post-Crescent reported.
Similar incidents have also occurred in Idaho, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Montana and Utah, according to the Animal Liberation Frontline, a group that's taking responsibility for some of the intrusions.
"The Animal Liberation Front has taken credit for three of the actions, while the rest have gone either unclaimed, or were claimed without naming a group affiliations," the group's website said.
Bob Noonan, editor of Maine-based Trapper's Post, told the Associated Press that animal rights groups choose this time of year to release the animals because pelting season is approaching.
"This is when they can do the most economic harm to the farmers," Noonan said.