An Ohio animal rescue organization says that one of its dogs was brutally killed while working on a program that pairs dogs with prison inmates.
The group, Josephs Legacy posted a Facebook message saying: "We are incredibly sad and it's a rough time for us. Please understand I am having a hard time finding the right words to describe the deep loss we are feeling right now. We have lost one of our own animals who we feel needs justice and her story told."
The group partners with prisons who have programs set for trusted inmates to use their time and energy training rescue animals, preparing them for new lives with new skills.
The group says the programs are meant to be great for the dogs and the inmates and are supposed to be closely monitored by the prison staff.
The dog, named Evie, was at the Warren Correctional Institution. She was found in unresponsive in a cell by her handlers and passed away.
The group had a necropsy performed. It determined that Evie died from blunt force trauma to her abdomen causing her liver to hemorrhage and her kidney was also damaged. A more complete report could take a month to be completed.
The group says it has removed all its dogs from this program and will not return.
State authorities are investigating and charges could be brought in the case.
The group said: "Evie was an extremely sweet dog who had so much more life, happy moments and years ahead of her. Our volunteers are hurting so deeply. Confused how such an amazing happy dog can be intentionally harmed."