GOOD HOPE, Calif. -

 A volunteer search dog was hit by a vehicle and killed during an investigation in Good Hope, authorities said today.

Pepper, a 3-year-old Labrador retriever, and her owner were assisting the Riverside County Sheriff's Department with an investigation when she was struck about 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Deputy Mike Vasquez said the sheriff's department will not divulge where
Pepper was hit at this time due to the ongoing investigation.

``The Riverside County Sheriff's Department is saddened by this tragic accident, and appreciative of the volunteer services provided by Pepper, and the countless volunteer dogs and handlers who selflessly serve the communities of Riverside County,'' Vasquez said.

Pepper was a part of Riverside County Search Dogs, a nonprofit organization that provides search and rescue services to the sheriff's department, according to the organization's website.