Mink patrols stepped up on the East Side of Summit County | ParkRecord.com

Mink patrols stepped up on the East Side of Summit County

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

A series of suspicious sightings at mink farms last week have deputies doing special patrols to keep ranchers on the East Side of Summit County safe.

"A suspicious vehicle was seen at two of the mink farms taking photographs," said Detective Ron Bridge, a spokesman for the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. "We do have a suspect and vehicle description and the detectives division is tracking that lead down."

The man taking pictures drove a 2004 blue Honda Element, Bridge explained.

Police have the name of the vehicle’s owner, he said.

Bridge said he does not know where the man lives.

On Oct. 30, a caller on Franson Lane told dispatch the Honda was spotted at mink operations in North Summit that produce pelts for the fur industry.

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A witness saw the vehicle in Hoytsville Oct. 30 at about 3 p.m., a report from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office states.

"You’ve got all kinds of animal-rights activists who would love to set those mink free," Bridge said. "We want to watch out to make sure mink ranchers are safe doing their business."

Activists raiding mink farms have caused lots of damage, Bridge said.

"We’re concerned about sabotage," Bridge said. "Mink ranchers are conducting a legitimate business and it’s against the law to let those mink go."

Counties in Utah which produce the most mink pelts include Cache, Morgan, Salt Lake and Summit.

"We do get these calls on occasion," Bridge said. "The ranchers relay the information to us and we try to provide the appropriate service to them."

The man spotted at mink ranches last week is not someone the Sheriff’s Office has dealt with in the past, he said.

Mink farms are being closely watched by deputies in the wake of the suspicious activities, Bridge said.

"We’ve put them on a property-watch list," he said.

The Animal Liberation Front, or ALF, has previously broken the law by inflicting economic sabotage against people who profit from raising mink in Utah.