(Injured animal discussed ahead)
This kitten was not “dyed purple with fabric dye” for shits and giggles. It’s been treated at home with Gentian Violet, a synthetic dye that is also an antibiotic and antifungal. It’s a common old-fashioned remedy among many hispanic families in the USA, sort of like your grandmother’s insistence on using Vick’s Vapor Rub for everything. I probably see two or three animals come in to my shelter each month that have been treated with it, and…it’s probably actually better that they use this than neosporin, since the animal is less likely to lick it.
I do not support the shelter’s theory that the kitten was intentionally used as “bait” - more likely she wandered in to a neighbor dog’s yard and was attacked. Her owners tried to treat her at home with GV, and then abandoned her at the shelter when they realized she had a fever and needed veterinary treatment that they couldn’t afford. This is something that happens almost daily in my shelter.