NUTLEY, New Jersey (WABC) -- A friendly dog at the Bloomfield Animal Shelter died earlier this week after she was shot with a crossbow arrow.
"We have very sad and disturbing news to report. Phoenix passed away unexpectedly yesterday and our hearts are broken," the shelter said.
Phoenix was a vibrant and playful dog that was brought into the shelter in September. The shelter's initial intake information shows that was found on Passaic Avenue in Nutley.
The shelter says they could tell she had experienced some sort of trauma because her body was covered in scars and scabs.
Despite these wounds, they couldn't prove that Phoenix had been intentionally harmed by a human and she never showed signs of pain.
"We named her Phoenix for a reason. We knew she experienced some lows in her life and would rise above," the shelter said.
Earlier this week, Phoenix showed signs of distressed breathing while on a walk with a worker at the shelter. Within minutes, she was transported to a hospital, but she didn't make it.
When officials examined Phoenix after she died, they found a foreign metal object lodged inside her body. It went through her thorax and liver, which ultimately contributed to her respiratory issues and demise.
This revealed that Phoenix was shot with a crossbow arrow before she came to the shelter. The shelter and the vet don't know how she lived as long as she did without signs of pain or distress.
The shelter says her wounds show the abuse did not happen overnight. With what they now know about Phoenix's past, the shelter is now questioning the validity of her original intake information.
Phoenix is a recognizable dog with very visible markings. The shelter hopes someone will come forward with answers, which could save another dog's life.
Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News