Who let the blue dogs out? Concern over toxic impact on stray dogs in Russia

Photographs of a stray pack of bright blue dogs in Russia went viral on social media this week.

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Residents spotted a pack of stray dogs roaming the streets near in Dzerzhinsk, Russia, about 370 kilometres east of Moscow. It might not sound out of the ordinary, but the dogs had blue fur.

Blue dogs in Russia – What we know

Abandoned chemical plant

Photos soon began circulating on social media. While it sounds cute and adorable, there is a more tragic explanation behind all of this. The dogs had come in contact with leaked toxic chemicals from the nearby factory.

The chemical plant, previously owned by Orgsteklo, went bankrupts six years ago and is, unfortunately, part of a complex of abandoned buildings which produced hydrocyanic acid and plexiglass.

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Image via Twitter: @ajplus

Hydrocyanic acid is a suspension of hydrogen cyanide in water, was originally isolated from the pigment Prussian blue. Some speculate that the dogs became exposed to the copper sulfate which has a pale-blue colour.

Plexiglas can’t carry the costs

Andrey Mislivets, the bankruptcy manager of Dzerzhinskoye Plexiglas told the Ria Novosti outlet that they “cannot bear the costs of capturing homeless animals and their sterilisation”.

“Homeless dogs are running around the area. Perhaps, in one of the buildings they found some kind of chemical residue – copper sulfate, for example, and rolled in it.

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Image via Twitter: @ajplus

It’s not the first time this happened. According to Mislivets, mentioned an incident from “several years ago” when he encountered dogs who had changed colour after coming into contact with “unnatural dyes.”

A happy ending for some

Animal welfare responders have now rallied up in full force, some dogs have been captured and taken to nearby shelters.

All the captured animals were examined by veterinary staff and appear to be in good health, however, experts believe that prolonged exposure to the chemicals could cause damage to the dogs’ skin.

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Image via VK.com/Nizhny Novgorod

The authorities of the Dzerzhinkoye region did some negotiating with Orgsteklo, which owns the complex so that they could round up and catch the dogs to ensure their welfare. Such chemicals could pose a serious risk to their health, so either adoption or euthanasia is required to stop this cruelty. 

Some of the blue dogs are getting their happy ever afters in fur-ever homes. Ria Novosti reported on Twitter than two dogs have since been adopted. Translation of the tweet below:

“Remember the blue dogs from Dzerzhinsk? Local residents sounded the alarm last week after seeing stray animals of an unnatural colour. Now they are at the animal rights activists, they have already been examined by veterinarians – the tests of all seven are normal. Two dogs have already found new owners”.

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