Rescue dog in local prison program found dead in cell from blunt force trauma

The state is investigating after a foster dog that was part of a training program at the Warren Correctional Institution was found dead from blunt force trauma in a cell at the prison, according to the Associated Press.

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The rescue agency Joseph’s Legacy called for public support to get “Justice for Evie” in a Sept. 2 Facebook post.

A 4-year-old female German Shepherd-Elkhound mixed breed, Evie died Aug. 25 from “blunt force trauma to her abdomen, causing her liver to hemorrhage, and her kidney was also damaged,” according to Joseph’s Legacy.

“We’re all undeniably angered and overwhelmingly upset,” Joseph’s Legacy’s post reads. “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. How safety measures have failed her.”

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When Evie was rescued in 2015, she was suffering from fleas and a broken hip and was nursing two puppies. Evie received care and recovered, according to Joseph’s Legacy. Evie was eventually placed as one of the canines in WCI’s program that allows inmates to train rescue dogs and prepare them to be adopted on the outside.

WCI’s program was going well until “our worst nightmare happened,” according to Joseph’s Legacy’s post.

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“These programs are supposed to be closely monitored by the prison staff,” Joseph’s Legacy’s post reads. “We were invited to join this program ... Many dogs came, got trained and headed out to their forever homes. It seemed to have little issues and worked smoothly. We had volunteers regularly on site and observing the dogs progress and how the handlers were working with them.”

JoEllen Smith, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, told the AP that after the Ohio State Highway Patrol concludes its investigation into the incident, the ODRC will conduct its own internal investigation as well as reviewing dog training programs at other institutions in the state.

“The animal training programs within our facilities have proven to be an effective and meaningful activity for over 20 years, and we have absolutely zero tolerance for any type of abuse of the animals who are part of these programs,” Smith said in a statement to the AP.

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