SAN JACINTO, Calif., Dec. 22 (UPI) -- The owners of a California dog that was dyed black by thieves in an apparent attempt to disguise her identity said their pet is missing again.
Heather Lowery of San Jacinto said her 8-month-old pit bull, Coco, vanished from her yard in an apparent theft shortly after Thanksgiving and turned up last week at the Riverside County Department of Animal Services with her coat dyed from its usual reddish brown color to a dark black.
Animal Services officials said they were able to identify Coco despite her color change because she had been microchipped.
"We believe it was an act of deception," Riverside County Field & Shelter Deputy Director Frank Corvino said in a news release. "The dye job is not very good. But it would work if someone's looking for their missing, reddish-brown dog."
Lowery said Coco disappeared from the yard again Sunday, this time in an apparent escape from tunneling under a fence. She said Coco got out Saturday, too, but she waited by the front door on that occasion.
Lowery said the missing dog's dye job had faded to a chocolate brown when she vanished Sunday. She also bears stitches on her stomach from her recent spaying surgery, Lowery said.