Mink release investigation continues
KEOTA — The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating an incident where about 100 mink were released from pens on a farm in rural Keota, but have been in contact with the Federal Bureau of Investigation on the chance that the incident is the work of an animal rights group.
Washington County Sheriff Jerry Dunbar said today that the investigation hasn’t changed. He said that at this point the incident is still considered to be criminal mischief, which would be a prank. He said whenever there is an animal release, any sheriff’s department is required to report it to the FBI.
“Are they looking into it? They probably are,” Dunbar said. “Our investigator and their agent have been talking back and forth.”
The police log said at 5:30 a.m. on Aug. 30, about 100 mink were released from cages in the 1100 block of 190th Street in Keota. The owners, in conjunction with the Washington County Sheriff’s Department, Keota police, and several neighbors and interested parties, worked to recapture the animals. Dunbar said as of Thursday, some of the animals were still missing.
Dunbar said the animals were born in captivity, and are not fit to survive in the wild. He said that part of his frustration is that the animals were released in 100-degree temperatures during a drought. He said that many have died.
“Basically by letting them go, they are torturing them and now they are dying from dehydration,” Dunbar said.
According to the Animal Liberation Frontline Web site, the incident is probably the work of animal rights activists. While the site doesn’t claim responsibility for the attack, it reads, “They may not be aware this is the fourth animal liberation action in a three-state area in three weeks, making it highly unlikely that this is anything but the work of animal liberators.”
‘If it is the work of this ALF, I wonder why they are letting these animals suffer,” Dunbar said. “They know we are having a drought. Just to release them to let them suffer and die doesn’t make sense to me.”
Advocates of extreme animal rights positions advocate the use of “direct action” and “monkey wrenching.” There have been several reported incidents where minks have been set free by animal rights groups.
A Web search shows many cases where alleged animal rights groups had released mink. Last month, an animal rights group released thousands of mink from cages at a mink ranch in Delco, Idaho. The Animal Liberation Front (ALF) claimed responsibility. During the Iowa State Fair this year, the butter cow (made of about 600 pounds of butter covering a wood and metal frame), a fair mainstay since 1911, was defaced with the words “Freedom For All” sprawled in red paint. A group called Iowans For Animal Liberation claimed responsibility.
“I would imagine with the recent incidents, the feds would like to do something,” Dunbar said.
Anyone who has information on the incident is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 653-2107.