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Minks Pose Threats to Pets

HERRIMAN — Shayna Page knew something was wrong when she heard the baby rabbits screaming one morning in February.

The Herriman woman ran outside and saw an animal trying to get into the cages of the rabbits her family raises. When the cat-size animal saw her, it ran away.

"The next day, I went out there and it had killed one of the babies and eaten a leg off two other babies," Page said. "Only one survived. It also ate the toes off eight other rabbits. My 8-year-old daughter was frightened and horrified."

The family put out a trap and caught the animal on the third day. They learned it was a mink.
The Page family doesn't know if the mink that attacked the rabbits was a survivor from the McMullin farm. Utah has a significant wild mink population that occasionally attacks domestic animals. But mink farming is big here. Utah is the second-largest producer of mink fur in America, and the fourth-largest in the world.

Animal rights groups have vandalized three local mink farms over the past ten years. One rancher in Sandy had 3,500 animals released into the surrounding area. Another in Summit County had 1,500 minks set loose. In the McMullin case, two men who claimed to be part of the Animal Liberation Front, or ALF, were captured by police and convicted of federal crimes. William James Viehl, 23, of Layton, was sentenced to two years in a federal prison.Alex Jason Hall, 21, of Ogden, is scheduled to be sentenced April 12. Viehl appealed his conviction to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver March 19.

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