Why so blue? That is the exact question that people in Dzerzhinsk, Russia, began to ask themselves when they spotted a pack of bright blue dogs near a chemical plant.
Not everyone had the opportunity to come face to face with the blue dogs. However, many came across the animals in a range of photos made available on Vkontakte (VK) – a Russian social media platform – by user Alekseї Ganine.
The blue dogs
As the images spread over the Internet, so did the number of questions and, obviously, the demand for answers. Of all the doubts that culminate the fact, the main one is: how did the dogs adopt a blue coat?
Basically, as they were seen near Dzerzhinskoye Orgsteklo, a chain of chemical factories that closed after going bankrupt in 2015, the animals are believed to have been exposed to some chemical residue.
such as copper sulfate, a bright blue ingredient used in the manufacture of plexiglass and hydrocyanic acid – products that the factory produced before ending its activities.
Andrey Mislivets, bankruptcy manager at Dzerzhinskoye Plexiglas, believes this is the most likely hypothesis. “Homeless dogs are always running around the area,” he said. “Perhaps, in one of the buildings, they found some kind of chemical residue – copper sulfate, for example – and rolled it over.”
If the assumption is confirmed, Mislivets dismissed the idea that the factory is responsible for the case or for any side effects caused by possible exposure to chemicals. “We cannot afford the costs,” reports the manager to the media.
After reporting the fact, Russian news agencies reported that the authorities would rescue the dogs and, if they were in danger, would assume all expenses. “According to a preliminary inspection, the dogs are doing well. There is no risk,” said public officials in the city of Dzerzhinsk.
Even with the authorities’ statement, animal rights activists did not believe that dogs are really safe and healthy. Kelara, vice president of Animal Protection at Humane Society International, thinks the authorities’ preliminary analysis is a simple way to maintain well-being.
“The ink on their skin indicates that they have had direct contact or even ingested potentially toxic substances – and that they are harmful. This can result in countless problems, such as burning, itching, internal bleeding and even diseases that can lead to death, if there is no veterinary intervention”.
Humane Society International has branches around the world, but unfortunately, because of the policies that govern Russia, the company cannot get involved as it would like.
“To date, authorities in numerous cities in Russia have not implemented effective and humane strategies to deal with their populations of stray dogs and, therefore, often resort to cruel and ineffective control methods,” said O’Meara.
As soon as the blue dogs gained notoriety, numerous other Russian media outlets began to report other, very similar cases. The country’s media has even reported the sighting of green dogs in Podolsk, near Moscow.
The only difference between the cases is that these dogs had contact with a kind of dye – and that it was not toxic.
As of this writing, seven of the blue dogs have been captured, and veterinarians have examined all.
According to Ilya Kazakov, head of the veterinary clinic that attended the dogs, the pets pass by. The cause of the color change, however, remains unknown. The clinic continues to investigate the case.