Stray dogs are an everyday part of life in Mumbai, India. But recently, something happened to some of these canines that was anything but ordinary. Dogs in Taloja, an industrial area of Mumbai, had their coats turn blue.
According to The Hindustan Times, a local treatment plant that uses blue dye to manufacture detergents has illegally polluted the water source. "Stray dogs often wade into the river for food and emerge with bright blue fur," the article stated. (The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board has since taken action against the plant for contaminating the water.)
The Navi Mumbai Animal Protection Cell, along with the help of the Thane Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (TSPCA), have done their part to help the dogs.
"We have been conducting awareness drives in the area so people realize how dogs and other animals are affected by the chemical pollution,” Arati Chauhan, who runs the cell, told the Times. “Most of the dogs from the area have been treated."
Shakuntala Majumdar, president of the TSPCA, reported that the dogs treated thus far have been mostly healthy. “The blue color is water soluble so we expect the rain to wash it away, but we do not know what internal damage the dogs have sustained."
Sadly, one of the dogs rounded up went blind due to the harmful chemicals in the dye. The animal shelter will continue to treat and conduct tests on affected stray dogs.
But, it's not just the issue of water pollution that is worrying animal activists in this case. "The key issue is population control of dogs,” N.G. Jayasimha, the managing director of India's Humane Society International, told petMD. “Streets are not a safe place for them—the best thing one can do is to have a robust spay and neuter program."
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Read more: How to Help Stray and Lost Pets