WARREN COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - A Greater Cincinnati animal rescue says they are heartbroken after one of their dogs died while in the care of a local prison.
Joseph's Legacy took to their Facebook page to vent their grief over the loss of their dog Evie.
The rescue says they partnered with the Warren Correctional Institution for a program that would allow trusted inmates to train rescue animals. The program was also supposed to help prepare the inmates and the animal for a new life with their new skills.
Joseph's Legacy says the program is closely monitored by the prison staff.
The program took a deadly turn when a dog from Joseph's Legacy was found dead in a cell by the handlers, the rescue says.
Joseph's Legacy says the dog was named Evie.
She had been with the rescue since 2015 when the rescue says they found her with a broken hip from being hit by a car. She was also caring for her puppies when they found her, the rescue says.
The rescue says Evie had surgery and was adopted by a family, but she was unfortunately returned.
When Evie returned to the rescue, they say she had learned 'escape tricks' like opening doors. That's when the rescue says they decided to put Evie in the program with inmates for more training.
Joseph's Legacy says Evie was found in a cell unresponsive.
A necropsy showed that Evie died from blunt force trauma to her abdomen, causing her liver to hemorrhage, the rescue says. The injury also caused damage to Evie's kidney.
"We got a nasty person if you can even call them a person. And I can't even believe, you know, I mean she's an amazing dog... you know, not that it's ever OK, but Evie? I mean she was so sweet," President of Joseph's Legacy Meg Melampy said.
The rescue says they expect to have more answers when more necropsy results are released in three or four weeks.
Joseph's Legacy says they've removed all dogs from the program and will not partner again with Warren County Correctional Institution.
FOX19 NOW has contacted the Ohio Department of Corrections for comment, but have yet to hear back.
The rescue also says they plan to file formal charges.
Police are investigating, Joseph's Legacy says.