Mink released in rural Keota
KEOTA — While the Washington County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the release of over 100 mink from a Keota farm as a prank, Sheriff Jerry Dunbar said that the work of an animal rights group is not being ruled out.
The police log said at 5:30 a.m. today an incident was reported on a farm in the 1100 block of 190th Street in Keota. Dunbar said the sheriff’s department was contacted for assistance with the loose animals. At about 9 a.m. today, Dunbar reported that most of the mink had been recovered.
The mink had been kept in wire cages in plain sight of the road, Dunbar said. The nearest neighbor to the farm is directly across the street, he said. The incident is under investigation. Dunbar said there are no persons of interest at this point.
“It looked like someone had opened the lids on the cages and let them run out,” he said. “They kind of congregated and scattered. They are pretty much a domesticated animal, which is why they stick together.”
He said the neighbors had gathered on the farm to help the recovery effort early this morning. Sheriff’s deputies blocked off the road to keep any of the animals from getting hit while they were being gathered.
Dunbar said there was no graffiti on the premises indicating an animal rights group. He said animal rights groups like to leave a mark to claim responsibility for a raid.
“We don’t see any signs of an animal rights group at this time,” he said. “This looks like a prank at this point.”
Anyone who has information on the incident is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 653-2107.
Dunbar also commented that many animal rights groups don’t know the results of their actions. He said that when mink are let go many could be hit on the highway or fall victim to wild animals.
“They do take it seriously,” Dunbar said of animal rights attacks. “In some cases, it can be considered domestic terrorism.”
Advocates of extreme animal rights positions advocate the use of “direct action” and “monkey wrenching.” This could include vandalism, arson, trespass, or terrorism.
Dunbar said that his office had been concerned about the presence of animal rights groups in the area due to a horse slaughtering plant in Sigourney. Suspected animal rights activists set fire to a similar plant in Roswell, N.M. The Web site for the Animal Liberation Frontline includes a story detailing the Keokuk County Sheriff’s office monitoring the plant.
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, defaced with the words “Freedom For All” sprawled in red paint. A group called Iowans For Animal Liberation claimed responsibility.