Members of the canine population in and around Taloja, near Mumbai, India, have developed a case of the blues, quite literally.
But they’re not unhappy—quite the opposite, in fact. Some of the dogs are actually turning from their natural color to a bright, neon blue. The unusual color has recently brought the dogs a lot of attention.
Not Exactly ‘Ocean Blue’ Waters
The source of the sudden color change is apparently industrial waste in the area surrounding Taloja. The waste contains blue dye and was dumped into the nearby Kasadi River; it’s the same river many of the dogs love to swim in to cool off.
Shakuntala Majumdar from Mumbai’s Thane Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) told National Geographic that they captured one of five known blue dogs in the area for testing and were able to wash off the dye from its fur.
“The dye is possibly water based as it washed off after two regular baths,” said Majumdar. He added that they aren’t sure, but there may be more than the initial five dogs affected.
A spokesperson representing the Navi Mumbai Animal Protection Cell (NMAPC), an animal clinic that has been researching the issue, confirmed those findings, saying that heavy rains are washing the dogs’ blue tone away.
Other health issues?
So far, there appear to be no other health issues, internally or externally. However, concern over the potential unknown effects was raised by locals and social media outlets.
“They looked apparently healthy except for blotches of blue on their fur,” said Majumdar.
A few unsubstantiated reports have reported that the dogs have also gone blind. Majumdar says that is not true. “We have not seen any blind dogs,” he said.
The Hindustan Times reported that it the odd phenomenon was most likely a result of untreated industrial waste from one particular company that dumped their waste into the river. The name of that company has not been released, but the news outlet mentioned that it’s a company that produces detergent.
The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board will be offering a full report to the public after the results of its official investigation have finished in several weeks.