Russia is trying to work out the strange appearance of blue and green stray dogs in several industrial areas in the country that are hundreds of miles apart, as reported by the BBC.
Seven dogs with blue fur were found roaming near a derelict glass factory in Dzerzhinsk, an industrial city near Nizhny Novgorod, 370km (230 miles) east of Moscow. After local media reported the strange pack of dogs on 11th February, the pictures went viral.
On 13th February the dogs were taken to a vets’ clinic in Nizhny Novgorod, where blood and faeces samples were taken and traces of Prussian blue dye were found in their fur. The factory in the area where they were found had been producing acrylic glass and prussic acid and it is suspected that the dogs rolled around in powdered blue dye at the plant.
Similar blue dogs have also been seen in India.
Russian media report that the dogs appear healthy and are eating well, although there are still concerns that a toxic chemical, such as copper sulphate, might have caused the colour change. For now the dogs with blue fur are staying at the vets’ clinic in Nizhny Novgorod, where their health has been checked and they are being vaccinated and sterilised. The strays will be released back onto the streets if homes cannot be found for them.
Then, on the 18th February several dogs with bright green fur were seen roaming around Podolsk, an industrial town 37km (23 miles) south of Moscow. In this case, according to a Moscow regional minister, the dogs were seen near an abandoned warehouse, where sacks of powdered green paint had been stored.
However, some Russians on social media suspect the Podolsk dogs might have been deliberately painted for a sick joke, as the bright blue dogs had impressed so many people earlier. Vets have been examining the Podolsk dogs too, are not all green-tinged to the same degree, but the cause of their green fur has not been conclusively established. However, just as with the blue dogs, they appear quite healthy and friendly.
Whatever caused the bright-coloured fur, the cases highlight the continuing risk from chemical pollution in Russia, which has many old industrial plants, partly a legacy of communism.