Copper sulfate, stored on the site of a chemical factory that went bankrupt in 2015, has turned the fur of a pack of local dogs varying shades of blue.
Animal experts who studied the dogs say they’ve suffered no adverse effects beyond the colour change, Newsweek reports. The canines were seen near the Russian city of Zhershinsk, at a factory site that produced plexiglass and hydrocyanic acid.
Municipal officials obtained permission to enter the grounds of the disused factory to determine the veracity of the dogs’ rumoured coat colour.
Seven of the dogs were taken to a veterinary hospital for examination. The veterinary centre director, Vladimir Groisman, told news outlet RBC that “the general analysis of their blood and feces showed normal levels for all of them, including their biochemistry.” Two of the dogs have already been adopted, and the rest will be kept at the centre for a week.
Groisman had earlier said the dogs had likely been stained by chemical residues. He doubted the dogs could have been caught and painted, and said the animals appeared to be well-fed and alert, local news site Vgorode reported. Humane Society International said the dogs could be suffering from skin irritation and internal bleeding as a result of exposure to toxic or harmful chemicals.
In 2017, pictures circulated online of a pack of bright-blue street dogs taken in Mumbai, India. An investigation revealed the dogs had been exposed to chloride pumped illegally from a local factory into a river in which they swam.
An investigation into the cause of the most recent incident has been launched by Russia’s Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources. The department told Newsweek that it was preparing to file a legal procedure to allow regular spot inspections at the factory site.