Why are dogs in Mumbai turning blue?

Roshina Jowaheer

Stray dogs in Mumbai have acquired a coat of blue after taking a dip in a polluted river, prompting anger and calls for action.

A strange thing is happening to dogs in the Mumbai township of Navi Mumbai – they've started to turn blue.

SEE ALSO: Shelter in Costa Rica cares for 900 dogs

SEE ALSO: Little boy scares off pack of wild dogs

At least five bright blue dogs have been spotted and animal rights groups are blaming industrial pollutants in the nearby Kasadi River.

They say the dogs are exposed to untreated blue dye when they wade through the water to cool off or search for food. Hundreds of factories operate in the area and release waste into the river.

No other creatures are known to have changed colour but activists say other animals living near the water could have also been harmed.

Local resident Dinanath Kamble told NDTV: "Earlier the water was clean but now we don't enter the water because the skin itches."

But Jayashree Katkar, secretary of the Taloja Manufacturers Association, believed the dogs ventured into one of the factories and picked up the dye.

"There are thousands of dogs inside the Taloja MIDC," Katkar said. "There are many sparrows, crows, cattle and three Lal employees work here. Why have they not become blue?"

National Geographic reports that an investigation has been launched by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, while a Navi Mumbai Animal Protection Cell (NMAPC) spokesperson told the publication that heavy rains have washed the dye off the dogs.