Justice for Evie: Sick prison inmates brutally murder volunteer dog given to them in rehabilitation program
The four-year-old German Shepherd and Norwegian Elkhound cross, Evie, died of blunt force trauma to her abdomen causing her liver, kidneys to hemorrhage
A volunteer dog was reprotedly beaten to death by prison inmates in Ohio, an animal rescue group said. The dog was working in a rehabilitation program which pairs rescue dogs with inmates. The rescue group said that the incident has left them "absolutely heartbroken".
The rescue group, called Joseph's Legacy, said that its "worst nightmare happened" after the four-year-old German Shepherd and Norwegian Elkhound cross, Evie, was found dead in a cell at Warren Correctional Institution in Lebanon, Ohio.
The institution is a high security prison, which has adult male prisoners, including murderers, aged over 18. The 45-acre prison site reprotedly houses a total of 1,365 inmates.
The news of the dog's brutal death was shared by the rescue group's volunteers on Facebook, who wrote: "Our Evie died from blunt force trauma to her abdomen causing her liver to hemorrhage and her kidney was also damaged. We’re all undeniably angered and overwhelmingly upset. We will have more [examination] results in about three-to-four weeks. We have to get justice for Evie. We have removed all our dogs from this program and will not return."
The president and founder of Joseph's Legacy Meg Melampy and the rescue organization's secretary Lisa Cantrell said that they had "never had any issues with the program before," according to the Daily Mail.
Ever since Evie's body was found on Saturday morning, at least two inmates have been put in solitary confinement. However, reports state that the ones behind the dog's brutal death have not yet been identified.
The rescue group, while writing about the incident, wrote about their "deep loss" on Facebook: "We are incredibly sad and it’s a rough time for us. We have lost one of our own animals who we feel needs justice and her story told... Sweet Evie came to us in 2015 when she was suffering a broken hip. She had been hit by a car and for weeks was putting her own needs aside as she was taking care of and nursing her own puppies."
Joseph's Legacy reportedly partners with prisons across the United States which have programs for trusted inmates to use their time training rescue animals and preparing them with new skills for their lives ahead.
"These programs are meant to be great for the dogs and the inmates [and are] supposed to be closely monitored by the prison staff. We were invited to join this program at Warren Correctional institution. Like most, we were excited to have our troubled dogs get their training and excited to help the program," the rescue group on Facebook said.
"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. Until our worst nightmare happened," it continued.
The group added that an investigation has been launched into the case by the state authorities and that "formal charges will be pressed" against the inmates responsible for the cruelty.