SAN ANTONIO -

No matter how long it takes, Animal Care Services is determined to crack down on cases of animal abuse and neglect.

Three examples of that determination can be seen in the arrests Monday of Mario Hernandez, 25; Delilah Salazar, 36; and Joann Ramirez, 74.

All three were taken into custody on charges of cruelty to non-livestock-torture.

The arrests of Salazar and Ramirez were more than a year in the making, according to court documents.

An indictment shows the two women are suspected of tying up a dog so tightly in October 2012 that his collar became embedded in his body.

In a separate indictment, Hernandez is accused of beating two dogs with a wrench in August of this year.

"It can often take several months just to put a case together. Once that case is put together, it has to be submitted to the (district attorney’s) office,” said Lisa Norwood, with Animal Care Services, explaining why justice, as times, may not move too swiftly.

Still, Norwood said her office did manage to send 113 cases to the DA for prosecution during the last fiscal year.

She said many more people — hundreds, possibly — were issued citations during that same time period for more minor animal abuse and neglect infractions.

And Norwood said the abuse and neglect that ACS investigators see isn’t limited to dogs and cats.

"We’ve seen more cases involving horses,” she said, “so much so that in the last couple of years, we had to build another livestock area."

Norwood said pet owners, particularly those with large animals like horses, sometimes get in over their heads and unintentionally neglect them.

"It can be tough to take care of animal who eats so very much, and unfortunately, some people don't look for options," she said.

As chief veterinarian for ACS, Dr. Marilyn Gotbeter has seen it all.

"We've had some poodles that came in with fishing line wrapped around their legs and they were severely matted,” Gotbeter said. “Animals being beaten over the head, beaten over their body, or thrown."

It is her job to determine whether the animals who come in are victims of intentional abuse, then follow through by helping to prepare a criminal case, if necessary.

Both Gotbeter and Norwood said the key to helping people avoid cages of a different kind — jail cells — is education.

"There's training that can be performed instead of those violent acts,” Gotbeter said. “Those animals don't deserve that."

For a list of recent stories Katrina Webber has done, click here.