A pack of dogs found with blue coats in a Russian city are reportedly suffering from no adverse health effects, according to an initial examination by animal experts.
Pictures taken in Dzerzhinsk, 230 miles east of Moscow went viral, of the dogs led many to link their coats’ varying hues of blue to a now-defunct chemical plant nearby.
The dogs were spotted by a factory site that produced plexiglass and hydrocyanic acid before it went bankrupt in 2015.
Its former bankruptcy manager Andrey Mislivets had told news agency RIA that dogs frequently roamed the area and that bright blue copper sulfate, which the animals may have been exposed to, was stored on the site of the disused factory.
The photographs, which were shared on the VK social networking website and reported on by Russian media outlets, sparked concern about the animals’ welfare as well as speculation over the images’ authenticity.
Authorities in the city negotiated with the petrochemical company Orgsteklo for permission to enter the grounds of the shuttered factory. Seven dogs were later taken to the Zoozachita-NN veterinary hospital in nearby Nizhny Novgorod for examination.
Animal experts said that there was no reason to assume that the blue color on their fur would have a negative effect on their health, Komsomolskaya Pravda reported.
In a statement to news outlet RBC, the veterinarian center’s director, Vladimir Groisman, said: “We have already performed initial analysis on the animals. The general analysis of their blood and feces showed normal levels for all of them, including their biochemistry.”
Groisman had earlier said that the dogs had likely hid from the cold and that their coats had been stained by chemical residues. He doubted that the dogs could have been caught and then painted, and said the animals appeared to be well-fed and alert, local news site Vgorode reported.
“We do not yet know what caused the dyeing of dogs’ fur. This requires large scale analyses, which we cannot do here,” he added.
The dogs will be put under observation for a week, while two of the animals have found new owners, RIA reported.
Welfare group Humane Society International, has raised concerns about the dogs’ conditions and called on authorities in Russian cities to implement sterilization and vaccination programs to protect the welfare of stray dogs.
Meanwhile, an investigation into the cause of the incident has been launched by the Nizhny Novgorod and Mordovia branch of the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources, which is known as Rosprirodnadzor.
In a statement to Newsweek, Rosprirodnadzor, said it was preparing the legal procedure which would allow regular spot inspections at the factory site. Newsweek has contacted Zoozachita-NN for comment.
Blue Dogs Found Near Abandoned Chemical Plant Tested by Vets – Newsweek