SAN ANTONIO -- In a city where the mistreatment of animals has long been a problem, San Antonio's animal cruelty investigators find themselves with an incredibly large workload.
"It's not just something you can get and put in your backyard and expect it to survive," said Officer Joel Skidmore, one of four licensed investigators working in Animal Care Services' Animal Cruelty division.
He and officers Audra Houghton and Manuel Flores had just removed a male American Staffordshire Terrier from the backyard of a home in the 500 block of Spring Street.
The dog was 40 pounds underweight. He had no food or water and was tied to a dilapidated RV with wire around his neck.
Investigators had visited the home seven days earlier and had given the homeowner a week to provide the dog food and shelter.
She did not comply and agreed to turn the dog over to Animal Care Services.
The dog will be fed and seen by a veterinarian, then eventually will be put up for adoption.
The homeowner, who said a male visitor left the dog in her backyard, could face a misdemeanor charge of failing to provide shelter.
In 2012, animal cruelty investigators turned over more than 30 felony cases to the Bexar County District Attorney's Office.
Animal Care Services takes in close to 100,000 complaints a year from San Antonio residents claiming animal abuse and neglect.
Complaints are investigated and often result in citations or even court appearances for animal owners.