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No Charges Over Dog Found Dead in Subzero Temperatures in Marion

Animal pathologists at Purdue discovered that the dog, a pit bull-chow mix named Lady, was pregnant with six puppies when she died.

MARION, Ind. -- No criminal charges will be filed in the case of a dog whose frozen body was found in a cage in Marion, Indiana, earlier this month after a necropsy came back inconclusive.

The body of “Lady,” a 5-year-old pit bull-chow mix, was found on Jan. 3 at the bottom of a hill on River Boulevard and Vine Street.

Temperatures at the time were below zero, and the dog was already dead at the time the discovery was made.

The dog’s owner, Gage Blackburn, said he and his mother had given Lady to his stepfather when they moved into a new house where the landlord did not want her inside.

Blackburn told RTV6 he thought his stepfather had killed the dog as a way to retaliate against him and his mom.

"He knew it would hurt her, because it hurt me real bad. She was like, she was my best friend. She was everything to me. He knew it hurt her bad to see me hurt," said Blackburn.

Lady’s body was sent to Purdue University’s Small Animal Hospital in Lafayette for a necropsy on Jan. 8. On Friday, the Marion Police Department released the results of that necropsy.

Animal pathologists at Purdue determined that Lady was pregnant with six puppies at the time of her death, but were not able to determine how she died. The necropsy found no cancers, bone fractures or toxicity in Lady’s system. According to the necropsy findings, there is no standard for determining whether a dog died of hypothermia.

Police said the findings were consistent with statements made by the two individuals last in possession of Lady, who reported that the dog had died within their home and that they requested someone remove the body.

Deputy Chief Stephen Dorsey said that, due to the necropsy’s findings, no criminal charges will be filed in the case.

Following the necropsy, Lady was cremated as requested. Her cremains will be returned to the Marion Police Department.

(Photo by RTV6.)

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