- Associated Press - Saturday, December 20, 2014

SAN JACINTO, Calif. (AP) - Coco, a reddish-brown pit bull with white markings, went missing from her Southern California home on Thanksgiving. Nearly a month later, she was found and reunited with her owners - but she was a different color.

Riverside County animal services officials made the match when they scanned a stray, black dog for an implanted microchip and found she was listed as an 8-month-old reddish-brown pit bull adopted in October from a San Jacinto shelter, the Press-Enterprise reported (https://bit.ly/1JxnzqH ).

Officials believe Coco was stolen and dyed in an act of deception to make it harder for owners Christopher Ingrassi and Heather Lowry to find her, said Riverside County Field and Shelter Deputy Director Frank Corvino. Officials believe the dog escaped from the thief’s property.

“The dye job is not very good,” Corvino said in a statement. “But it would work if someone’s looking for their missing, reddish-brown dog.”

Animal Services spokesman John Welsh said Coco shouldn’t suffer any long-term consequences from the dye.

Lowry said she was shocked when she learned what had happened to Coco.

“I didn’t think someone would go as far as to dying a dog’s fur to keep them,” she told animal control officials, according to the statement.

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Information from: The Press-Enterprise, https://www.pe.com

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