As many as 40,000 mink were released from their cages at a mink farm in northwest Ohio overnight Monday, police say.

Suspects destroyed fencing at Lion Farms USA Mink Farm in Hoaglin Township and released 25,000 to 40,000 mink from their cages at the farm

So many minks were killed crossing a nearby road that a plow was brought in to help clear the carcasses away, said Van Wert County Sheriff Thomas Riggenbach.

As of Tuesday afternoon at least 10,000 minks still were unaccounted for after their release from Lion Farms USA Mink Farm, according to a news release from the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office.

The owner of the farm said that many of the minks did not leave the property after their release, Sheriff Thomas Riggenbach said.

A group known as the Animal Liberation Front had previously claimed credit for releasing a much smaller number of mink at the farm in a previous incident years ago, the Times Bulletin in Van Wert reported.

The sheriff’s office initially warned residents in the area to be cautious with poultry flocks, small pets and koi ponds that the mink might attack, but it later said the freed mink are considered domesticated and likely lack the skills to survive in the wild.

The sheriff urged people who spot them not to approach them, and to contact the farm or trappers for recapturing. He said residents who want to hunt or trap mink must make sure they understand what related rules and exemptions apply in their area.