A campaign of the K9 Alliance to Teach 

Dozens of protesters chanting "Free the dogs, arrest the criminals!" demonstrated outside Mexico City police headquarters Friday, demanding the release of 57 stray dogs seized over five suspected mauling deaths in recent weeks.

The protesters said the dogs are innocent, and many claimed the victims were probably killed by humans. They acknowledged the famished dogs that live in a hilltop park in an east-side slum where the bodies were found may have bitten the corpses after they were already dead.

"Dog friends, the people are with you!" the protesters chanted, as well as, "The dogs aren't criminals, the police are inept!"

"We are completely certain ... the dogs are innocent," said Nominis de Esparza, an animal activist ...

The 57 ... include a few about the size of a Labrador, but many are small or mid-size dogs, including beagle and border-collie mixes. Twenty-three are puppies or very young dogs

 Jose Luis Carranza of the Citizens Front for Animal Rights, criticized city authorities for ordering round-ups of strays. "If the authorities really want to crack down on the overpopulation of dogs, then they should go after the clandestine puppy sellers," Carranza said. "Every day there are people selling dogs on the streets, and the police don't do anything."

Many look like the discarded pets they are. Residents near the 353-acre  park in the poor Iztapalapa neighborhood say people regularly drop off unwanted pets there, but say the dogs have never caused problems before.

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