RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — A dog at the center of a Riverside County Animal Services cruelty investigation is now missing, authorities said Friday.

County animal control officers executed a search warrant for the dog Thursday at a Riverside property, but the dog was not in its yard, and the dog’s owner told police officers that her dog had been taken, Animal Services spokesman John Welsh said.

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A photo of the dog, a female pit bull mix, had been posted on Facebook and described her as “starving,” prompting Animal Services to send officers to the property Tuesday to check on the dog’s health. Officers observed the dog and determined she appeared thin, but very energetic and even a bit hyper, Welsh said.

However, when the officers tried to discuss the dog’s health with its owner, the owner refused to talk to them. The officers ultimately issued a notice of violation, ordering the owner to take the dog to a California-licensed veterinarian for a thorough examination within 48 hours.

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Animal control officials believe the dog was apparently taken from the yard between when the officers had issued the violation and Thursday’s deadline.

“If this dog was truly stolen from its yard, the person or persons who did this have now impeded our investigation,” Animal Services Director Robert Miller said.

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Officials say the dog can be returned to Riverside County Animal Services, no questions asked. The dog can be dropped off at one of the agency’s night-drop compartments at the county’s main shelter, 6851 Van Buren Blvd. in Jurupa Valley, or provide a location for the dog.