Mexican authorities say dogs are not responsible for the deaths of five people as animal rights groups protest against ill treatment of canines.
Dozens of protesters gathered in front of Mexico City's Public Security offices on Friday (January 11). They were protesting the capture of 54 street dogs after accusations they mauled five people to death.
Holding banners that read: "The dogs are innocent," "It's easy to blame those who don't have a voice" and "Arrest criminals" the protesters say the dogs are a scapegoat.
[Leslie Vargas, Protester]:
"Of course these animals are innocent. They (authorities) are trying to hide another thing and that is why they are taking advantage because they are unable to defend themselves. That is why they were captured."
A member of the Citizen Front for Animal Rights said local authorities had agreed to sit down and discuss solutions to the dog problem. They also agreed to stop policemen from hunting dogs.
[Jose Luis Carranza, Member of Citizen Front for Animals]:
"We want a dignified and respectful treatment of dogs and above all respect of the animal protection law."
Later that day authorities said they would release the dogs after finding no evidence they had been involved. All the dogs will now be put up for adoption.
The animals were captured close to the scene of the alleged attacks in a densely populated area in Mexico City. They had been blamed for the attacks of five people in three separate events in recent weeks.
Two of the victims were 15, one sixteen and a 29-year-old mother with her one-year-old child were found dead in a park.
Authorities reported that all the victims had bled to death from their injuries.
Local media has also reported that evidence of "satanic rituals" had been found in one of the caves in the hilly park.
The case has sparked a debate in Mexico City about what to do with the capital's 120 thousand stray dogs. The Municipal government has agreed to dispatch dozens of vets to sterilize the stray animals.
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