“A Comprehensive Security Plan for Mink Farmers” Oct11


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“A Comprehensive Security Plan for Mink Farmers”

Read the 1998 article on securing fur farms, written at the height of the ALF fur farm campaign.

Following up with the release of the Fur Commission USA document “Site Security: Strategies and Protocols“, I am posting a 1998 prequel: “A Comprehensive Security Plan for Mink Farmers“, written by Wisconsin sheriff Ed Frawley.

This article has an emphasis on the use of dogs to protect mink farms, yet also includes sections on “securing the perimeter”, use of cameras, and more.

It should be noted this is written by a police officer, and not someone with first-hand knowledge of how to secure a mink farm, or anyone involved directly in fur farming. As such, it represents the suggestions of an outsider and does not reflect the realities of mink farm security (or lack thereof).

This is not being posted as a serious look at how fur farmers treat security issues. This article – I think even most fur farmers would admit – is naive, alarmist, and uninformed. For example the author considers it a possibility the ALF carries guns on actions (and advises farmers to pull guns on trespassers), among other absurdities that I have not seen even in the most sensationalized FBI reports or literature.

I’m posting the entire article below. But first, the best quote:

“What the police do not know (but the terrorists do), is that… when mink are released from their pens, the farmers often loose 20 to 30 years of genetic records because its visibly impossible to tell one mink from another of the same color. That’s why stopping these people is so important to the farmers.”

A Comprehensive Security Plan for Mink Farmers
By: Ed Frawley

Over the past few years mink farmers (farmers) throughout the United States have been victimized by animal rights groups. These people are social terrorists that sneak onto farms at all times of the day or night and release mink from their cages.

They are well organized. An intruder was just seen wearing “night vision” goggles as he was chased from one Wisconsin farm. Another farmer took photos of a very low flying airplane that had the FAA tail numbers removed from the plane (The photos and film were given to the FBI who were very interested in the incident.) They are also becoming more and more violent. This was witnessed in the bombing of the Utah Fur Breeders Assoc. in Salt Lake City that did $1,000,000.00 damage and the arson in Vail, Colorado of the ski resort that did $12,000,000.00 in damage in October of 1998.

No one knows for sure who these people are. It’s felt that they are members of organizations which are off-shoots of PETA. There are organizations called The North American Animal Liberation Front and The Earth Liberation Front that claim to be the main actors in the mink release program. The Earth Liberation Front is the group of terrorists that burned the ski resort in Vail, Colorado in October, 1998. They have their own web site that is updated almost daily.

A couple of years ago I was a guest speaker at the yearly meeting for the Wisconsin Mink Farmers Assoc. I was asked to write an article concerning security for the mink farmers. It’s taken me awhile to get the job done.

Security for a mink farm involves a comprehensive plan of defense. When we factor in the budget of the average mink farmer (which is far from limitless), dogs need to play a major role in a security plan. Many farmers already rely on dogs, but they have the wrong type of dogs. They do not train them properly and they do not kennel them properly. This is not meant as criticism but as simple fact. These people are farmers and not dog trainers. This article will deal with these issues. Being a Deputy Sheriff and K-9 officer, I will also offer sound advice on how to bring law enforcement into your security plan.

Before we get into the issue of security, I would like to say that the general public needs to look at this issue and get it into perspective. This is not about women wearing mink coats. It’s about respecting the rights of others in society. There is no law against mink farming and until the political process changes that, people that release mink are breaking the law.

The people who trespass onto farms, blow up buildings or burn ski resorts are “SOCIAL TERRORISTS”. Rather than work within the law and lobby to get laws changed, these terrorists choose to make up their own laws. In the end their actions turn public opinion against them because the general public finds what they do unconscionable.

Tom Clancy’s recent book “Rainbow Six” is an extreme example of where this kind of thinking can lead people.

Mink breeders are no different from any other animal breeder. They study genetics and they know their bloodlines. They take very good care of their animals. If the mink are not kept clean and well fed, they will develop poor coats. If this happens, the farmer looses the market for his pelts. Mink farmers are no different from cattle breeders, chicken farmers, Vail Ski Resort Owners, or any other businessman in this country.

The general public and most local law enforcement agencies do not understand how much damage these terrorists cause when mink are released. People find out that most of the mink are recaptured the next morning, so what’s the big deal?

The problem is that most of those that do escape, die. Domestic mink have long since lost the ability to fend for themselves in the wild. The terrorist’s response to this is “at least they had a chance at freedom.” I recently read a book that described the worst form of death being to die of starvation. Those mink that do live have a devastating effect on the local eco system. Wild mink are ferocious fighters and killers. Releasing even 100 mink into a local forest will often have a traumatic effect upon the entire chain of natural wild life. But then, this is a whole separate issue from the fact that trespassing onto someone’s property is illegal.

What the police do not know (but the terrorists do), is that mink farmers keep track of their bloodlines through their housing methods. A mink may live its entire life in its own pen which is recorded in the farmers bloodline files. Mink can not be tattooed, they won’t keep an ear tag in their ear and $40.00 computer chips are too expensive to put in a $100.00 animal. So when mink are released from their pens, the farmers often loose 20 to 30 years of genetic records because its visibly impossible to tell one mink from another of the same color. That’s why stopping these people is so important to the farmers.

Farmers need to look at security from many perspectives.

  • Organize Through the Internet
    • Work with Law Enforcement
    • Local Law Enforcement
    • Federal Law Enforcement
  • Secure the Perimeter
  • Use Motion Detectors
  • Use Dogs
    • Deployment
    • Selection
    • Housing
    • Training
    • Poison Proofing
    • Citizen Involvement
    • Hunting the Bad Guys (An optional plan of attack)
  • Counter Measures

Organizing through the Internet

Farmers are out of the loop in terms of technology on the internet. A.L.F. has a web site that is updated every week. Do not kid yourself. A.L.F. gained support and communicates and networks with members through cyberspace.

Mink farmers are not taking advantage of this technology. One only needs to do a search for “MINK RANCHING” or “MINK” on any search engine and see what comes up to convince you that the farmers are way out of the loop here.

Farmers need to have a much better run web site than anything I have been able to find on the internet. This web site needs to be well protected with anti virus programs (Manatee or Norton Anti Virus are the best on the market at this time).

It does not make sense that the A.L.F. can detect (within a day) an attempted penetration on their web site and the farmers have nothing. There is no reason that farmers and all of the various fur exchange organizations can not come together and support one web site designed around security and intelligence. All intelligence needs to be funneled to this one site.

This site needs to be in the hands of someone who is prepared to update the site within minutes of getting information on a new probe or release. For example, if a farmer knows that a black man and a white man with long hair were foiled near Madison WI. during the middle of the day, as they tried to cut through a perimeter fence, this can go onto the web site for others to be aware of. If a farmer even suspects that he saw a suspicious, small, red car driving near his house, this information should be e-mailed to the web site administrator. One never knows what information may fit into a larger picture that will help the authorities make an apprehension, or warn a potential victim.

This web site should be something that every mink farmer in America checks every morning over his cup of coffee. The excuse of not knowing anything about computers does not float anymore. When one can spend $600.00 at any Best Buy and purchase a computer that allows e-mail and access to the internet, there should be one in every farmers home. If I can teach my 12 year old son to send e-mail a 60 year old farmer can certainly learn something new.

Work Dealing With Local Law Enforcement

It’s almost impossible for local rural law enforcement to take a proactive approach to this problem. No department has enough people to guard the farms. The role of local law enforcement is therefore going to be limited to trying to apprehend the suspects after the fact. Most of the time the crime is not noticed until the next morning and by then the criminals are out of the county and many miles away. Considering that most of these people are not local, farmers should ask for a meeting with the local sheriff, and go in with a package of information outlining the seriousness of the crime and a little of the history of what is going on around the country.

The national organization should keep databases on the names of as many activists as are known or it should be available on the web site. Once again, this list needs to be built by members of the organization. The lists should be distributed to every farmer, who in turn provides that file to his local sheriff (and the sheriffs in the surrounding counties.)

In that way, if a crime is committed, these lists can immediately be made available to the law enforcement dispatch centers. When traffic stops are made and the driver’s or passenger’s name comes up on this list, the officer will have reasonable suspicion or probably cause to investigate further.

The importance of these lists becomes evident when dealing with people who have never been arrested. If someone has never been convicted of a crime, his or her name will not turn up on a police computer other than to verify the driver’s license. If I were a farmer, I would ask the sheriff if he would agree to keep an intelligence file at the department that I would keep updated. I would get the name of the department secretary who could be given updated lists for the file. Then, when a release takes place, copies of these lists could be made available to the deputies on duty. I would ask that they be distributed to the men in the patrol cars. If any farm within 300 miles has had a probe, it would be proactive to make sure that every patrol car has a copy of the list.

In your conversation with the sheriff, I would remind him that these people are going to be using police scanners. Ask him to cover this with his 911center. This means that when you have a penetration, you will need to remind all dispatcher to use what we call the DVP channel to notify the officers. DVP in our county simply means that the radio traffic is encoded and can not be picked up by police scanners. So the bad guys never know when police are coming if they are relying on a scanner.(Your county may call it something else.) Just remember, I will guarantee you that A.L.F. penetrators use police scanners and 2-way radios.

My feeling is that 99.9% of the local sheriffs are going to be behind you. You would only need to remind him that you are no different from the dairy farmers or any other farmer in the county. Other farmers are going to be on your side on this matter and farmers vote.

If your county is lucky enough to have a K-9 team, I would recommend offering your farm as a training ground. I can tell you from experience that dog handlers are always looking for new places to train. Certainly a mink farm is going to offer a normal police dog a lot of distractions. The need is only in the area of building searches in your empty sheds and barns, but the handlers also need new tracking grounds.

If your local K9 handler has used your farm during his tracking training, he is going to know the topography. He will have an idea of where someone would run if they had to come in cross-country. He will also have a personal interest in going the extra mile to help you as a victim. K-9 handlers (if they are worth their salt) are always looking for strange people to lay tracks for them. Offer to do it, or have your wife or children do it. This does not need to be dangerous. Depending on the skill level of the dog, it just means walking around your farm and waiting for the dog to come and track you. If there is a concern about being bit, then just climb a tree, or get up in a deer stand. Put yourself in a position where it’s impossible for the dog to bite you even if it is off leash. If you want to learn how to lay training tracks, get my training tape titled Track Laying for the Police Tracking Dog. This tape will teach anyone how to lay a training track. Make yourself valuable to the K9 handler and he will remember it.

If I were a mink farmer and I could afford it, I would donate anything I could to the local K9 program. Even if I could not afford to donate a dog, maybe I could talk the local Lions Club into sponsoring a dog team.

Working with Federal Law Enforcement

The encouraging thing is that the FBI is taking an active interest in catching these people. Josh Ellerman (19) is currently being held (without bail) in the Salt Lake County Jail as a federal prisoner. He was indicted on 16 federal counts which included building and possessing pipe bombs. These charges stem from the fire bombing of the Utah Fur Breeders Assoc. (the one that did over $1,000,000.00 in damage). ALF’s web site refers to these people as “PRISONERS OF WAR.”

Ellerman is facing a minimum of 30 years in federal prison. The beauty of the federal system over the state system is that a 30 year sentence by the feds means 30 years. The state of Wisconsin recently passed a “Truth in Sentencing Law”. As of July 1999, a 10 year sentence means 10 years without the possibility of parole.

Members of these organizations are being subpoenaed by Federal Grand Juries. A Federal Grand Jury does not allow a defendant to appear with his lawyer. It also does not allow the defendant the option of “taking the 5th” and/or “remaining silent”. If a defendant does not answer the questions posed by the grand jury, he faces, up to 18 months in prison. In addition, if he lies to a Federal Grand Jury, the penalties are even more severe. Federal judges do not hesitate to invoke these sentences.

Drug dealers have known and feared the power of the federal system for years. The Animal Liberation Front is just getting its feet wet in the system. Over time, the FBI will capture these people. They will be brought before a federal judge and be sent where they belong. Mr. Ellerman and his friends will find that it is not an enjoyable experience to become someone’s boyfriend in prison.

Securing the Perimeter

Mink farmers need to look at their farm as a military installation. The Animal Liberation Front views this as a war. Their web site refers to Ellerman and other ALF members in jail as “PRISONERS OF WAR”. The farmers need to develop the same mind set.

If they live in the woods, they need to clear the brush and trees away from their perimeter fence. In my opinion, the clearing should be a minimum of 100 yards (more if possible). I love trees as much as the next guy, but trees provide cover and concealment. The grass needs to be cut within this outer area of the perimeter. If the grass is over a foot long, I will guarantee you that a man can move slow enough to get to the perimeter fence without tripping motion detectors or without being seen at night.

If erosion is not a concern, I would even keep this area plowed. This is going to provide foot prints (evidence) and a direction of travel. It’s also going to make the going tough if the ground is wet. If plowing is not possible, I would at least install a 10 foot perimeter of sand around the outside of the perimeter fence. Use RoundUp and keep the weeds out of the sand. It’s also important to not let the sand get hard. Get a drag and use your riding lawn mower to break up the sand. Golf courses do it, so can farmers.

If the farmer makes it a habit of walking the perimeter of his fence every morning, he will know if he has been probed. Many times these guys will make a dry run before the actual mink release. If you find evidence of a probe, do not go near it. Call the sheriff and ask for an investigator to come out and take photos. I would even call the FBI and ask for help. Certainly after the Vail fires, the FBI is going to take a special interest.

Using Motion Detectors and Cameras

On more than one occasion I have been a member of the entry team on our local drug task force. As we were quietly sneaking through the backyard of a house (at 3 AM) to kick a door and execute a drug search warrant, the garage lights would come on because we had just triggered the motion detectors. Take it from someone who has been there, it increases the pucker factor of the cops. I can guarantee you that it gets the attention of the bad guys who intend on releasing mink.

This area outside the perimeter fence needs to be covered by motion detectors. These can be bought at any local store. The detectors can be wired to flood lights, or a siren, or both.

The only problem with motion detectors is deer and other animals setting them off at night. Deer can easily be trained to keep back from the perimeter fence. This is accomplished with an electric fencer. The farmer should use electric tape rather than electric wire. Deer love peanut butter. If the farmer will smear peanut butter on the tape the deer will get zapped when they lick the peanut butter off the electrical tape. The deer always remember this experience. They only need to get zapped once or twice and they will not come back. They find another place to wander. I learned this trick from a friend who operates an ornamental shrub farm in the middle of the woods. Deer love these shrubs. I could not figure out how he kept the deer from eating the small plants in the spring until he told me of his trick.

Motion detectors need to be properly installed and maintained to be effective. A farmer needs to determine the outer limit of the motion detectors to determine how effective they are. This can be done at night. They simply walk towards the perimeter fence from outside the farm. When the motion detector is triggered, they stick a flag in the ground. Then the next day, they go outside of the flags and install, the electric fence wires. If small animals are triggering the motion detectors at night, it may also be necessary to put up a low wire. One for deer and one for coons and the other smaller animals.

In the past year or two, video surveillance cameras have become very inexpensive and easy to get. Sam’s Club offers a system made by Exxis Corp. (800-683-9947). For under $800.00, a farmer should be able to install 4 camera -1 monitor system on their property. The importance of the camera is obvious, but farmers need to remember to hook a VCR to the system. If a penetration is seen on the monitor, the viewer must hit “PLAY-RECORD” before he does anything else. This video tape is some of the most valuable evidence that can be found during a jury trial. I have personally videoed more drug busts than I can think of and when the bad guy’s attorney sees his client on tape, he starts talking deal.

There are two schools of thought in regard to what the motion detectors should trigger. Most farms will want it to be flood lights and a horn to alert the dogs. Another train of thought (one that I would personally lean towards) would be to trigger a silent alarm that would go off in the house. This would allow me to take my personal protection dog (and gun) and become the hunter. In my opinion these people need to be caught and not just chased away; but more about that later in the article.

Lets assume that these guys get by the motion detectors and get near the perimeter fence. What then?

Using the Dogs

Dogs can be an inexpensive and very important part of a farmers protection plan. Unfortunately most mink farmers often do not understand dogs or dog training.

Many farmers end up with yard dogs that will kill mink that accidentally get out of their pens. These are always dogs with a lot of prey drive (the drive to chase things that run).

No dog is born to hate and kill mink. That’s impossible; it simply does not happen. But certain dogs are born with more prey drive than others. These dogs effectually chase things that run from them. So a dog with high prey drive will instinctively chase a mink that runs. Once these dogs kill a couple of mink, they quickly learn to identify mink as prey. When that happens it’s pretty hard to stop them from killing. So these dogs quickly fall out of favor with farmers. Unfortunately many times these experiences turn a farmer off of dogs.

So for dogs to be effective, they need to be properly selected and properly deployed. The following sections will deal with these issues.

Proper Deployment of the Dogs

Many farmers do not deploy their dogs properly. They think one, two, or three dogs running loose inside the perimeter is the answer. It’s not. If I had the kind of security problem that mink farmers have, I would have 4 or 5 yard dogs. I would keep each in its own area within the perimeter. They would never be allowed to run as a pack. Eliminating one would not eliminate the problem because the others would continue to bark.

To increase the effectiveness of the dogs, they must be kept separated and back away from the perimeter fence. This can be accomplished through the use of an in an in-ground fence system. (The Invisible Fence is one well known brand.) By keeping the dogs 15 to 20 feet inside the perimeter they can not be stuck with a needle or hit with a drugged dart gun. This means they bark for longer periods of time. The longer the dogs bark, the quicker the bad guys are going to leave.

I would recommend not using the Invisible Fence brand fence. It’s too expensive. Rather, use an Innoteck Fence. I sold Invisible Fences for 5 or 6 years in the mid-1980’s. These Innoteck fencers are the same quality. In fact, as I sit here typing this article, my son and wife are installing flags around our house and kennel so we can train three new dogs to be loose.

The beauty of these fencing systems is that one fence can be configured to create several different dog yards within the perimeter fence of the property. Each yard can hold one or two dogs. Farmers should know that males fight with males and females fight with females. So if more than one dog is to be kept in a yard together they need to be opposite sex.

By creating several different interior yards, the intruders will not be able to distract a whole pack of dogs (that are allowed to run together) to one side of the perimeter while his buddy slips in the other side and releases mink. In fact, farmers may want to keep one dog in a dog kennel in the center of the mink pens. This dog would not be allowed to run loose. So intruders would have to get by all of the exterior dogs and get to the middle of the facility to eliminate this one dog’s barking.

In my personal case, the fences allow me to have 3 very, very tough males loose at one time on my land. Multiple yards create different land mines on your property. It brings new meaning to the words “you can run but you can’t hide.” Its almost impossible to try and run through multiple yards and make it through them all. One dog will alert the next so he will be waiting at the border for a runner. It creates a whole different situation for the terrorists. They will not understand the boundaries of the fences and will not have the time to determine them. So while they may do something to one dog, it is unlikely they will have the time or ability to get all of the dogs.

If the dogs do their job, and they can not be eliminated, then the bad guys go away.

Selecting the Dogs

The fact is, farmers can often get by with 4 or 5 very cheap dogs and one very good (and costly) personal protection dog.

Farmers are mis-informed on what kind of dogs they need for this work. Many think all of the dogs need to be big tough dogs. While this will certainly work, it is too expensive. (good, fully trained adult German Working Bloodline Shepherd can cost up to $6,000 or $7,000.00.)

The dog’s main job is to bark and tell the farmer that an intruder is trying to come on the property. So while big German Shepherds may look intimidating, a happy little poodle can be just as effective. Don’t kid yourself that these people are just as concerned with a barking poodle as they are a barking German Shepherd.

The type of dog needed for “yard dog” is one that most people do not want. This is a dog with weak nerves. It’s a nervous dog that is going to be a very light sleeper. It’s a dog that will startle easily. It will bark at the slightest noise. A perfect example of this is a fear biter. Fear biters have weak nerves. They become aggressive because they are afraid of strangers. These kinds of dogs do not make good pets, but they can serve a very valuable task by working on a mink farm. A lot of American bloodline German Shepherds can fall in this category. American bloodline German Shepherds have had the working ability bred out of them, just as a domestic mink has had the ability to hunt and fend for itself in the wild bred out of it.

The best dog needs to be the farmer’s house dog. In my opinion this dog needs to be a very solid well trained dog. It’s a dog that has good nerves and is a social dog. Which means that its not a threat to family members or to visitors that are welcomed into the house. Most people who do not train police service dogs or sport dogs do not understand how this can be possible. The fact is that it is possible to have a dog that is very tough without being sharp. If you do not understand these terms, I recommend that you do a little research on my web site and learn about the drives of protection training.

I should mention that a personal dog must have a lot of prey drive. This drive is a must in protection training. If this dog chases mink it can easily be trained to leave the mink alone through the use of a Tri -Tronic electric collar. If you would like to learn more about the drives of protection training, I suggest that you go to my list of training articles on my web site and read the many articles. I would recommend starting with Understanding the Drives of Protection Training.

Training a protection dog is not something that is going to be done in a week or so. It requires a ton of work and a clear understanding of the drives of protection training. If you want to begin this learning process I recommend the following training videos:

Basic Dog Obedience
The First Steps of Bite Training
The First Steps of Defense
Training Personal Protection Dogs
The cheapest way to obtain a good personal protection dog is to purchase a well bred puppy, and train it yourself. But unless a farmer is committed to doing the socializing and training that a young pup requires, he is wasting his money to buy a puppy. A well trained dog is a product of good breeding and good training. It’s a partnership. If the owner-handler drops the ball he will end up with a well tempered pet and nothing more.

If you have an interest in learning to train this kind of dog, the you can learn what is necessary through the following videos:

Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months
Bite Training Puppies
The First Steps of Bite Training
The First Steps of Defense
Housing the Dogs

We want the dogs to sleep during the day and stay awake at night. That means they need to be put in a kennel during the day. That facility should be located away from the work area. We do not want the dogs to see the farm workers going about their work or they will not sleep. So the kennel needs to be quiet and located away from the working area. Keeping the kennel area dark during the day (in a well ventilated, clean building) and feeding when put up in the morning will help them sleep. In addition, I would use Tri-Tronic Bark Limiter Collars during the day. This will keep them quiet in the kennel.

Without no bark collars, if one dog barks, they will all wake up and bark. Farmers will often question using these collars. They are concerned about shocking the dog for barking during the day. They worry that this will carry over into their night work and the dog will not bark. This does not happen. I have 15 no bark collars that are put on my dogs at various times of the day and night. Dogs quickly learn where the shock comes from (the collar). They learn to quiet when it’s on and this results in them relaxing and sleeping.

The Training

You don’t need to be a professional dog trainer to get acceptable performance from yard dogs. If you select them properly, it’s simply a matter of teaching the dogs that people are always going to try and come into the perimeter at night. If the dogs are nervy dogs, they will learn to be concerned about this and become very sensitive to outside penetrations. They will also learn that barking (or biting) will drive these people away.

To explain the mentality that we want to develop, I like to use the example of the mailman. People often wonder why dogs bark at mailmen. The reason is not that the guy wears a uniform or that the dog smells fear and therefore acts aggressive. The reason is that the dog learns that every day this guy shows up and comes within the dog’s perceived territory (most dogs are territorial). His territorial drive triggers barking and the dog sees the guy leave. Since the dog has no idea what mail is, he thinks that his barking has chased the guy away, so the next day he barks harder. Basically the daily routine of the mailman trains the dog to bark at him. This same concept needs to be instilled in the farmer’s dogs.

So the simplest form of training is to talk your neighbors, your friends, your not so good friends, and anyone else that you can think of. Talk them into coming to your farm at various times of the night and try and sneak up to the perimeter fence.

Explain that they should really try and sneak up to the fence without being detected. Tell them that when the lights come on they should “FREEZE” in place. Make the dog pick up their scent. If your personal intruder makes it too easy, the dog will expect every intruder to be that way. So tell your people to try and get to the fence without the dog barking. If they can make it to the fence, they need to rattle the fence a little until, they get the dogs attention. When the dog barks, they need to jump and run away. This will build the dogs self confidence and make him bark harder next time. It builds his territorial drive.

As the dogs gain experience, tell your friends to do whatever they can think of get to the fence. Tell them to move slow like a hunter. Wait for the lights and horn to go off before moving again. The key to this game is this, when the dogs finally spot them they need to stand up, scream and run around like a crazy man. This will in turn drive the dogs crazy with drive. The dogs will expect every person they identify outside the fence to be a little crazy. Timing is of the essence to this training. Jump too soon and you lose the effect. Jumping up to late does not trigger the drive we want. The jump must be timed to when the dog alerts on the man. If its just a few yap yaps because the lights just came on, then they should not react. They should continue to crawl in towards the perimeter and wait for the real defensive BARK BARK BARK before they jump and run. This is the bark where there is no question in your mind that the dog KNOWS you are there and not the bark where he THINKS you are there.

If I were a farmer I would hire some neighbors high school kids to try to sneak into my pens at night. I would try and get experienced hunters. I would offer them a bonus if they got in without the dogs alerting or barking (I would show them where the boundaries to the yards are so they would know where the safe areas are inside the perimeter. If there are none, you can intentionally not put one dog in a yard and create a weak spot in the system which they would try and penetrate.)

Make a game of it. I would tell them that there are “no rules”. They can do whatever they can think of to beat the dog as long as they don’t hurt them. Put a trophy in the center of the dog yards and show them where it is. If they can get it out without you catching them, they get their bonus. A little incentive goes a long way.

Poison Proofing

A.L.F. members are going to try and drug the dogs. They will toss drugged meat in to the dogs to put them to sleep. Usually tree huggers would never consider killing a dog, but – considering their recent bombing out west, this may be changing. So the dogs need to be poison proofed. This is done by working with a local electrician. Ask him to show you how to wire a piece of meat to a battery so the dog will get knocked on his ass when he touches the food that he finds in the yard. Don’t think this is something you need to do once or twice and forget about. It’s something that needs to be worked on all the time and you need to experiment with various types of treats. In addition the dogs are only fed inside their kennel. Never anywhere else.

Citizen Involvement

One proven effective countermeasure has been citizen involvement. Coordinated deployment of organizations such as amateur radio clubs, REACT (CB) net operators, high school and college level ROTC members, police explorer (scouting) members, etc., has proven effective in cases ranging from nuisances such as graffiti and petty vandalism to major felonies. The most valuable contribution of these groups is that they serve as additional eyes and ears to law enforcement and in areas of split jurisdictions can facilitate increased police response times through direct communications with responsible agencies. And most of these groups have – or can arrange to have – either radio or cellular communications equipment of their own. The number of frequencies available and used by these groups make bad guy monitoring of radio traffic unlikely and useless and have resulted in numerous “in progress” busts. But while individual and group citizen involvement can be an effective law enforcement tool, it’s effectiveness is directly related to the degree of interest and willingness of law enforcement agencies involved to work with and coordinate agency and citizen efforts.

Hunting the Bad Guys

My wife just got through lecturing me on this next section. She explained that because of my experience in law enforcement as a K9 handler, I have a different view of these situations than most people. My wife is usually right about these kinds of things. But just in case there are a few mink farmers who feel like “taking on the mob,” the following section will provide food for thought.

Do not misinterpret what I am going to talk about here. I am not telling you to take the law into your own hands. All I am saying is that most mink farmers live in a rural area. A man can easily walk
a mile in 20 minutes. He can run a mile a lot faster than that when he is scared. In our county it’s not uncommon for the response time for a K9 unit to be 45 minutes. I will guarantee you that these people have an escape plan. If you can get on their trail with a dog, a Motorola radio, a game finder, and a hand gun, you just may be able to apprehend them.

I realize that some law enforcement agencies will think I am on shaky ground here. The law is very clear on the use of force and especially the use of deadly force. My advise to you is ” become an expert on knowing exactly what you are allowed to do in various situations”. You can not shoot them or shoot at them unless you believe that they have a weapon and intend to use it. It’s very important to remember this.

I do know that farmers have the right to protect themselves. They have the right to be in business. There is nothing against the law in a farmer detaining a burglar, a criminal trespasser, or a person who has committed a crime against him, his family, or his property. If that person threatens you, if you feel that your life is being threatened, then you have a very serious situation and a difficult decision to make.

My guess would be that these individuals are not armed, but with the recent bombings, this is not something to take for granted. I would approach every situation as if they were armed. I think that any expert would tell you that these kinds of people have an escalating spiral of violence.

They have proven this in the fact that they have gone from releasing mink to blowing up buildings. It is not inconceivable that they may take it a step further. Don’t kid yourself, the National Liberation Front and Ted Kaszinski sleeps in the same bed and dreams the same dreams.

So if you track them and catch them, be very careful. Make them get face down on the ground and wait for the police. When a police officer approaches your position you will need to be very careful in how you handle your weapon. Until they positively identify you, every cop is going to be very nervous when he finds a civilian in the woods with a weapon. So when you know the police are near, make sure the suspects are face down. Tell them to face left or right and then move behind them so you are at their feet with them looking away from you (so they can not see you). Get 25 to 30 feet back away from them. (Do not get closer than this) As the police near your position, lower your weapon and give some thought to putting it away (either in a holster, in your belt or on the ground) Then keep an eye on the suspects because at this point they may be getting close to fight or flight.

If a mink farmer makes up his mind to be a tracker, it would be a good idea to invest in a pair of hand cuffs (@ $40.00). Keep them with your gun. When suspects are caught, toss them the handcuffs and have them cuff themselves together. This makes it more difficult to run if they would decide to jump and make a break for it.

These small Motorola radios ($150.00 each) are good for a couple of miles. If you have radio contact, make the police come to you. Keep the suspects face down and do not try and walk them out alone. If you do not have radio contact, then you do what you have to do to get them into police custody. Just don’t do something stupid that will get you in jail with them.

If you go through the work of buying a good working bloodline dog and training it as a personal protection dog, you may want to train it to track a human. This is not only fun to do, it keeps you in shape. It also allows the option of tracking and capturing these pukes. You can read about some of the work involved to train your dog to track on my web site. Read the articles on Tracking Thru Drive. You can also purchase the video Training Police Tracking Dogs.

Finally, I tried to put this in perspective for my wife. Before we were married, she was almost raped. This was a terrible experience for her. It took many, many years for her to get over this ordeal. We were dating at the time and the only thing that saved her was a can of “mace” that I had given her the week before. My wife was the type of person who would never hurt a flea. After this attack, she has learned how to use a hand gun and would not hesitate for one second to use it if someone came into our home and she felt threatened.

I think if she were a mink farmer who had his mink released she would be a hunter.

So remember this is not an issue about mink coats. It’s not about killing mink. It’s about the law and our rights as citizens. The point here is that these people are organized social terrorists. If you are a dog breeder, don’t kid yourself that these fanatics will not some day redirect their
energy towards you. They have their sights set on sled dog racing. Next it could be schutzhund and police service work.


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