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Farmers in Van Wert say escaped mink are killing local livestock

Six days after about 40,000 mink were illegally released into the Hoaglin Township countryside, the small predators are violently letting their presence be known.

VAN WERT COUNTY, Ohio — In the six days since a break-in at Lion Farms USA in Van Wert, Ohio, released about 40,000 mink into the surrounding fields, local farmers said the animals have been nothing but a terror to local livestock.

On Nov. 19, Logan Welker, a farmer living between Middle Point and Van Wert, received a panicked call from his neighbor down the road.

"She called and she was just getting done with chores and said she had a bunch of chickens that were dead and asked if I could come down and take care of them," Welker said.

Inside the pen, he said he found all 14 of his neighbor's chickens mauled to death. Little did he know, the culprit was still inside the coop.

"I was pulling the last chicken out, and that's when the mink looked at me," Welker said. "I shot it, pulled it out of there and she was happy to see it was taken care of."

He said he then posted a photo of the aftermath on social media and received responses of similar tales from local farmers.

"A lot of little farms, hobby farms, came on and said they've had the same situation happen to them, whether it be 100 chickens, or 10, 15 or 20," Welker said.

When it comes to invaders in the coop, Van Wert County Sheriff Thomas Riggenbach said residents have the right to protect themselves and their property from the creatures. But Welker said for farmers like his neighbor still don't know what will happen to their businesses.

"Who's paying for the chickens? Who's paying for the feed to get them up to laying age? Who pays to restore all that?" Welker asked.

WTOL 11 reached out to the sheriff's office, the Van Wert County commissioners and the Hoaglin Township trustees. None of the three have responded, as of Monday afternoon.

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