SULTAN, Wash. (AP) – An animal-rights group has claimed responsibility for releasing about 10,000 mink from a fur farm near Seattle.

The animals – prized for their silky coats – escaped early Monday and all but about 1,000 had been captured later in the day, said farm owner Brad Roesler. Activists claiming to be part of the Animal Liberation Front, a radical animal rights group, took credit for the release in an e-mail sent to Seattle newspapers.

Sultan Police Chief Fred Walser, however, said authorities had not been contacted by ALF or any group claiming responsibility for the attack.

Walser said it appeared the intruder cut through a fence and opened the mink coops.

, similar to chicken coops.

The cat-sized animals ran “out the back fence and down a ravine and every direction you can think of,” he said.

AP-ES-08-26-03 1618EDT

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