Sick dog that was at the center of legal quagmire is now missing

“He had open wounds. He had parasites on his body,” Lachrystal Ricke told us in November of 2017.

Thanks to social media, this poor dog broke hearts everywhere.

“It wasn’t just us rallying to save him,” Ricke told us last November. “He had a whole country of people interested in his wellbeing.”

Ricke’s rescue group, Reggie’s Friends Rescue got the Harris County Animal Shelter to waive the three-day hold law so they could pay for the dog’s medical care.

The rescue group named him "Gabe" and now the group’s founder says she has no idea where Gabe is.

In an Only on FOX report last November, we told you a woman who said she owned Gabe came forward before the three-day hold was up.

The county told Ricke she had to bring Gabe back to the shelter. She refused.

“I did in my mind what was ethically, morally and medically correct for the situation,” Rickey told us at the time.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, a known animal advocate, let Ricke temporarily keep the dog.

“So the judge decided we will try to solve the mystery later,” said Judge Emmett’s spokesman Joe Stinebaker. “We will just get the dog under some veterinary care and that’s what we did.”

Last week, the county started asking about Gabe’s whereabouts.

On Tuesday, the rescue group’s attorney told the county this.

“The dog has been missing for some time and that’s all we can tell you,” Stinebaker said.

What does the county judge think about that?

“I can tell you I’ve informed Judge Emmett. I think he feels betrayed,” Stinebaker said. “He went out of his way and he took some heat for going outside the way we normally do things to make sure the dog was protected.”

The county is terminating its agreement with Reggie’s Friends Rescue and now wants to know what happened to other dogs the rescue group pulled from the shelter during the last five years.

The county says there could also be a criminal investigation.