The Delkab County, Ga., medical examiner says a 23-year-old woman who was found dead in her home last weekend was mauled to death by one of her five dogs, WSBTV.com reports

“Twenty-three-year-old Rebecca Carey spent her life rescuing animals, taking several into her home to keep them from ending up at animal control,” the WSBTV report adds.

Tragedy: Georgia Woman Mauled to Death by Dogs She Rescued

23-Year-Old Rebecca Carey (Photo: The Daily Mail)

When Carey didn’t show up for her shift at the Loving Hands animal clinic in Alpharetta, Ga., last Sunday, it was Jackie Cira, a close friend of the deceased, who went looking for her. What she found was horrible and tragic.

“There was a lot of blood,” Cira said. “And when first got there, it looked like she had fallen and hit her head.”

The county medical examiner says the official cause of death was “sharp lacerations to her neck and upper torso.” Carey’s five dogs, two Presa Canarios, two American terrier mixes, and a boxer mix, were taken in by DeKalb’s Animal Control and later euthanized, according to police.

“We didn’t know which dog did which. I can’t be wrong. Not just myself, no one can be wrong in putting out a dog that possibly had to do with these type of injuries. I will not put another person at that kind of risk,” said Animal Control’s interim director Tim Medlin.

Tragedy: Georgia Woman Mauled to Death by Dogs She Rescued

Two of Carey's dogs that were later euthanized (Photo: The Daily Mail)

Animal Control had the consent of Carey’s parents to put the dogs down.

Carey had devoted her life to rescuing dogs, according to family and friends. Everyone was shocked when they learned of her tragic passing.

Tragedy: Georgia Woman Mauled to Death by Dogs She Rescued

Carey's dog cages

“They never show any type of aggression. Even if one got loose, you could tell them to go back to their yard, they would go back,” neighbor Monica Cofer told My Fox Atlanta.

Carey had been rescuing dogs since she was 13 years old, according to her employer.

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“Any dog she came into contact with, she brought out the best in,” Cira said.

Carey’s family has issued the following statement:

Rebecca Carey of Decatur was 23 years old and an avid animal lover. Since the second grade when she read the book Throw Away Pets she vowed to be a voice for all animals. She attended Georgia Perimeter College and worked at a veterinary clinic.

Upon placing her first abandoned animal in a permanent loving home in 2003, she volunteered countless hours with rescue networks and animal shelters. There she did what she loved the most: rescuing animals from untenable situations to find them safe, loving homes.

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Front page photo source: The Daily Mail