VAN WERT, Ohio — Cellphone video posted to social media Sunday night shows a mink roaming downtown Van Wert as it passes by several businesses, including an Anytime Fitness and an now-closed Pet Valu.
The person taking the video narrates the mink's movements satirically, suggesting the animal might be headed to the gym to get into shape. A child in the video asks if the animal is a cat, but the first voice confirms that which many in Van Wert are beginning to expect: "It's a mink."
The mink is likely one of the 40,000 that at least one unknown suspect released from a Van Wert farm last week, causing several issues in the area. According to the Van Wert County Sheriff's Office, mink are aggressive hunters, only eating fresh kills and frequently pursuing animals larger than themselves.
On Monday, WTOL 11 reporter Michael Sandlin spoke with a Van Wert famer whose coop of fourteen chickens were all killed by at least one mink. Other livestock owners in the area say they have also been affected by the large numbers of mink.
MORE VAN WERT MINK COVERAGE
The mink also pose a significant ecological threat: local conservationist and animal rescue organization Nature's Nursery warns that the sudden influx of the predatory animal could have effects on the ecosystem for years to come. In addition to hunting chickens, mink prey on birds and small mammals such as rodents, which are crucial to the northwest Ohio ecosystem.
On Nov. 16, Lion Farms USA Mink Farm said around 30,000 of the mink were accounted for, leaving around 10,000 mink still on the loose. Since then, hunters have killed many of the mink, while many became victims of vehicles while trying to cross roads.