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Rescue dog in prison therapy program found dead in inmate’s cell

LEBANON, Ohio – A dog that had been part of a program for inmates was killed at a Warren County prison, according to officials from an animal rescue.

Evie, a rescue dog with Joseph’s Legacy, was found dead in a cell at the Warren Correctional Institution, officials from the organization said. A necropsy revealed Evie died from blunt force trauma to her abdomen, which caused her liver to hemorrhage, WCPO reports.

Joseph’s Legacy said the program, which is “supposed to be closely monitored by prison staff,” was meant to allow inmates to train rescue animals.

“We are incredibly sad and it’s a rough time for us,” Joseph’s Legacy officials said on Facebook. “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.”

Joseph’s Legacy said it rescued Evie in 2015 after the dog was struck by a car. Evie was adopted after recovering from a broken hip but was returned to Joseph’s Legacy “at no fault of her own” a few months ago.

Joseph’s Legacy said it removed all dogs from the program at the Warren Correctional Institution and added the dogs will not be returning to the prison.

“We only had the problem for about a year. We’ve never had an issue,” said Meg Melampy, the president of Joseph’s Legacy. “Nothing like this, or we would’ve pulled them out.”

Joseph’s Legacy said many troubled dogs received training from this program before heading out to their forever homes.

On Facebook, Joseph’s Legacy said formal charges will be pressed but did not indicate whether a lawsuit had been filed.

WCPO has reached out to the Warren Correctional Institution and the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office for comment.