Blue Dogs Found Roaming Near Abandoned Chemical Plant

Photographs of a stray pack of bright blue dogs on a snowy road in Russia have been circulating online.

The photos of the dogs seem to show the pack all with varying degrees of the cobalt tinge to their coats.

The pictures were taken in the city of Dzerzhinsk, 230 miles east of Moscow and posted to the Russian social media site vk.com, according to The Moscow Times.

While some of the dogs are a dark-colored blue, others are less pigmented.

Meanwhile in russia we have "blue dogs" bug pic.twitter.com/BSG7ZXrl65

— Полит-Хуит (@russopolit) February 12, 2021

Response to the pictures on social media was mixed—with some saying the dogs looked like cartoon characters, while others expressed concern that their fur was colored blue as the result of pollution and worried about the animals' health.

One Twitter user wrote: "Those blue dogs in Russia are the result of toxic pollution. NOT FUNNY!!!!!"

It is thought the dogs could have picked up the distinctive coloring after being exposed to chemicals at a nearby abandoned factory, according to reports.

The factory produced plexiglass and hydrocyanic acid but closed six years ago after going bankrupt.

Hydrocynanic acid, a suspension of hydrogen cyanide in water, was originally isolated from the pigment Prussian blue, and takes its name from cyan, the ancient Greek word for blue.

It is described as poisonous by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, which lists one of its uses as a commercial dye, as well as a chemical warfare agent.

The chemical plant's former bankruptcy manager, Andrey Mislivets, told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency that the buildings of the factory also store copper sulfate, a chemical known for its bright azure color.

Soviet chemical factory in Dzerzhinsk Russia
A chemical factory in Dzerzhinsk, Russia, 230 mile east of Moscow. A pack of blue dogs photographed in the area are thought to have changed color after being exposed to chemicals at an abandoned plant. LYagovy/iStock

"Stray dogs are wandering around the territory," he said. "Possibly they found the remains of some old chemicals and rolled in it, and possibly it was copper sulphate."

He reported that something similar had happened "several years ago" with animals changing color after coming into contact with "unnatural dyes."

RIA Novosti also reported that animal rights agencies said the dogs' health is likely not endangered. However, Newsweek has contacted the ASPCA for their comment on the photos and potential risks to the dogs' health.

According to reports, local authorities are currently negotiating with management at petrochemical company Orgsteklo for permission to enter the grounds of the shuttered factory and capture the dogs in order to determine why their fur has changed color.

"According to preliminary visual inspection, the dogs are in satisfactory condition," Russian news agency Interfax reported the city administration as saying. "Tomorrow, specialists will enter the chemical factory grounds and find and examine the animals."