The FBI have arrested and charged two animal rights activists for releasing about 5,740 mink from farms associated with the fur industry as well as for vandalizing the homes and businesses of industry members.
Arrested were Joseph Brian Buddenberg, 31, and Nicole Juanita Kissane, 28, both from Oakland, California. Federal prosecutors charged them both with conspiracy to violate the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, according to ABC News.
The two arrested were said to have caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages throughout their 40,000 mile cross-country trip in 2013.
“Whatever your feelings about the fur industry, there are legal ways to make your opinions known,” U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said in a statement. “The conduct alleged here, sneaking around at night, stealing property and vandalizing homes and businesses with acid, glue, and chemicals, is a form of domestic terrorism and can’t be permitted to continue.”
Buddenberg and Kissane are alleged to have freed mink and destroyed breeding records on farms in Idaho, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Also on the list of alleged activities were releasing a bobcat from a farm in Montana, slashing vehicle tires, gluing businesses’ locks, vandalizing property in San Diego, Spring Valley and La Mesa, California.
In Sun Prairie, the two were also charged with attempting to flood the home of an employee of the North American Fur Auctions.
Buddenberg and Kissane covered their tracks by avoiding phones or logging into online accounts, instead, using only public internet computers and utilizing only cash for purchases during their travels.
The FBI has stated that the two drafted communiques and posted them on the internet to publicize what they were doing on several websites associated with “animal rights extremists.”
The two are on house arrest with electronic monitoring until a court date is scheduled. They each face a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.