06/05/2015 12:43 EDT | Updated 06/05/2016 05:59 EDT

Mink breeders offer $75K to find out who set 1,600 mink free in St. Marys

The Canada Mink Breeders Association is offering a reward of $75,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or people who broke in to an Ontario fur farm and released nearly 1,600 mink from their cages Saturday night.

"We thought [the reward] was necessary because we thought someone might turn in these dummies that release mink," said Kirk Rankin, president of the Canada Mink Breeders Association.

Most mink were recovered the following Sunday, according to Jeff Richardson, owner of Glenwood Fur Farms. But about 100 mother mink have died from exposure, injuries from fighting, or getting hit by cars. About a dozen kits, the term used to describe newborn mink, have died due to being separated from their mothers.

The farm is located near St. Marys in southwestern Ontario.

Rankin said his association believes animal rights activists are responsible for the break in.

"When I think more about it, I still get wound up," said Rankin.

A California-based animal rights group called the North American Animal Liberation have posted a press release on their website stating that an anonymous group of activists have taken credit for the break-in.

The group said they received an anonymous communique, which reads, "As many as 1,600 mink were released from cages at the Glenwood Fur Farm (4216 Perth Line 9) in St. Marys, Ontario late on May 30. According to media reports, fencing that surrounds the farm was cut and a gate opened. Animals in two sheds were released, and breeding cards removed."

Rankin said he is aware of the press release, but that it has not helped the investigation.

An Ontario Provincial Police spokesperson said perpetrators could face charges of mischief, with punishment that ranges from a fine to jail time. Police estimated a loss of $200,000 to the fur farm.