Blue Dogs Spotted in Russia Likely Dyed by Toxic Compounds

This isn't the first time toxic substances gave animals an unnatural hue.
Chris Young

Animal activist groups were recently alerted to sightings of stray dogs with bright blue fur, which were spotted near an abandoned chemical plant in the Russian city of Dzerzhinsk, a Newsweek report reads.

The groups suspect the sightings were caused by the dogs being exposed to harmful chemicals leaked from the plant, RIA Novosti suggested in a tweet on Monday, Feb. 15.

The factory reportedly went bankrupt in 2015. When it was abandoned, stray animals were able to walk the premises, which may not have been completely cleared of toxic substances.

Blue dogs likely came in contact with toxic substances

Though it is not yet known what exactly caused the dogs to attain the bright blue color, The Moscow Times points out that the abandoned factory produced plexiglass and hydrocyanic acid — essentially hydrogen cyanide dissolved in water.

As the name suggests, hydrogen cyanide is an extremely poisonous compound, also referred to as prussic acid.

Copper sulfate is another likely culprit as it is a bright blue inorganic compound used in several industrial processes. Whatever it was, the main concern is currently for the dogs' welfare.

"The dye on their fur implies they have had direct contact with or even ingestion of potentially toxic or harmful substances," Kelly O’Meara, Humane Society International’s Vice President of companion animals, told Newsweek

"This could result in painful skin burning or itching or internal bleeding and illness that could lead to death, without veterinary intervention," she continued.

Photos, and accompanying captions, by Reuters do show that the dogs are being taken care of, and tested, at a local veterinarian and a shelter in Nizhny Novogrod, a city an hour's drive from Dzerzhinsk.

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Bizarrely, this isn't the first time bright blue stray dogs have been seen on the streets. In 2017, blue dogs were spotted in Mumbai — an investigation found that high factory pollution of the Kasadi River in the Navi district of the city was causing the dogs to take on the blue hue.

Despite the worrying events leading to this striking sighting, there is one piece of good news: according to Futurism, the Nizhny Novogrod shelter has already found owners for two of the blue-colored dogs.

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