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VAN WERT, Ohio (WJW) — Most of the tens of thousands of minks released in a mink farm break-in early Tuesday have been accounted for, authorities said.

Many of the critters released from their cages at Lion Farms USA Mink Farm along Hoaglin Road were found on the property and corralled by farm workers later that day, according to a update from the Van Wert County sheriff.

But about 10,000 minks were still on the loose as of Tuesday afternoon.

Sheriff Tom Riggenbach said the minks from the farm are considered to be domesticated livestock, and don’t have a good chance of surviving on their own in the wild, “because they lack natural survival skills.”

Minks are carnivorous and typically eat fish. Riggenbach said homeowners who find them on their property have the right to protect that property, but cautioned against shooting the creatures, since that could break the law. It’s a fourth-degree misdemeanor to fire a gun within Van Wert city limits, under city statute.

Residents who spot one of the loose minks shouldn’t approach them, as they may bite. Instead, they should contact the farm at 419-622-1002 or contact a licensed nuisance animal trapper.

For assistance with trapping nuisance critters in Van Wert County, call the county’s licensed trappers David Burger at 419-203-6368 or Cody Feasby of Feasby Home and Farm Service LLC at 419-203-6238. Here’s ODNR’s list of licensed trappers in other Ohio counties.

Property owners who meet the hunting license exemption may hunt or trap them without a fur-taker permit. For questions about trapping or hunting mink, contact the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife at 1-800-945-3543.

About 25,000 to 40,000 minks were released from their cages in the early Tuesday incident, which is being investigated as a break-in. The suspect also destroyed fencing at the farm, according to the sheriff’s office.

Anyone with information about the break-in is urged to call the Van Wert sheriff’s office at 419-238-3866 or Van Wert County Crime Stoppers at 419-238-STOP (419-238-7867). Callers can remain anonymous.