A criminal investigation has been opened after a 4-year-old German shepherd and Norwegian elkhound mix named Evie was found dead on Saturday inside the Warren Correctional Institution, a prison located in Lebanon, Ohio.
Evie was working in a prison program that pairs rescue dogs with inmates, Joseph’s Legacy, the animal rescue center that connected her with the prison, wrote in an online statement.
A necropsy revealed that “Evie died from blunt force trauma to her abdomen causing her liver to hemorrhage and her kidney was also damaged,” the group wrote.
“We’re all undeniably angered and overwhelmingly upset,” Joseph’s Legacy wrote. “Evie was an extremely sweet dog who had so much more life, happy moments and years ahead of her.”
More results will be received in three to four weeks, staffers said.
A warden’s assistant from Warren Correctional Institution told Oxygen.com that the dog's death is now being handed by the Ohio State Patrol as a criminal probe. Prison officials declined to comment further because the investigation is ongoing.
Evie was given to the animal rescue center in 2015 after she was hit by a car and suffered a broken hip. She was nursing her own puppies at the time.
After she healed, Joseph's Legacy brought Evie into a program that paired inmates with rescue dogs.
“Like most, we were excited to have our troubled dogs get their training and excited to help the program,” the rescue center wrote. “Many dogs came, got trained and headed out to their forever homes. It seemed to have little issues and worked smoothly.”
Since Evie’s death, however, Joseph’s Legacy said all of its dogs have been removed from the program.
They told Oxygen.com that they "just want justice for Evie and to be her voice."