ASPCA Makes Arrest in Case of Starving Puppies Abandoned in Apartment

Monday, January 14, 2013 - 1:00pm
Jack before and after

Photos: [top] Jack and [bottom] Jill, before and after receiving treatment at the ASPCA Animal Hospital.

Can you imagine leaving your pets behind in your former home, even in the worst possible circumstances? We can’t either. And yet, after Jerome Smith, 23, was evicted from his Harlem apartment, he chose to do just that to his six-month-old puppies.

When New York City Animal Care & Control officers opened the door to Smith’s former home in September, they found Terrier mix puppies Jack and Jill, all alone and in bad shape.

The officers called ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement, and our agents brought the pups to the ASPCA Animal Hospital right away.

ASPCA veterinarians found Jack and Jill to be dehydrated, malnourished and severely underweight. Jack weighed 12.7 pounds and Jill weighed 8.5 pounds. By contrast, after being fed a balanced diet and receiving treatment by ASPCA staff, Jack now weighs 36.5 pounds and Jill weighs 30.3 pounds—a 187 and 256 percent increase, respectively.

The ASPCA arrested Smith in December. He was charged with two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. If convicted, he faces up to two years in jail and/or a $2,000 fine.

Jack and Jill's story ends happily. On January 13, Jill was adopted! Jack is waiting for a forever family at the ASPCA Adoption Center, located in Manhattan. To learn more about how you can adopt Jack, please visit the ASPCA Adoption Center online.

Update 1/18/13: We are thrilled to report that Jack was adopted!

If you suspect you’ve witnessed animal cruelty, please report it.

Jill before and after

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Carol C

Why would any body do that to these puppies who love you unconditionally. I think you should lock him away with no food, no water and see how he likes being starved and left dehydrated. I have a puppy and I look at that face that is so full of love and could never fathom doing anything to break his heart. Thank god they were found and are thriving. Thank god for these organizations that give all animals a fighting chance, you are all angels.

[email protected]

I agree with you and your idea. Just like crimes against people it should depend on the severity of the crime. All crimes are horrible and sometimes the people that commit crimes have mental disorders like being bipolar or being a sociopath/pyschopath. These type of things can't be fixed by jail time. These things are above jail and a fine. Which is so sad.

Connie Keeton

The problem is, people who abandon animals to starve don't get punished enough! A slap on the wrist, a few hundred dollars in fines. Make them work at a shelter for 5 years. Make them pay $5,000 at $1,000 per year. And if they miss one day at the shelter or one payment, jail time!

Maria E. Pierson

I truly believe that someone who doesn't love animals is something wrong with them. One doesn't have to adopt or have one but to mistreat them is a psychotic behaviour. The law has to change!!!!


They look so much better!!! God Bless the people who saved these precious dogs!!!


I agree there should be far harsher punishments. If it was a human baby left behind the parents would be jailed and scorned. These are beautiful living souls and I hope they find wonderful forever families.


I, too, do NOT understand how anyone could do this!!! If you can't keep a pet, for whatever reason, bring the pet to a shelter!!!! This guy should get the two years, and the fine, and NEVER be allowed to adopted or purchase a pet EVER AGAIN!!!! AND, while in prison, be starved for as long as those poor puppies were starved!!! An eye for an eye!


Your animal, no matter what it is, depends on us for everything they need to live. I hope God never deals this man what he deserves for leaving these pups to DIE.... Shame on you should hang your head in shame and ask the devine powers that be to "Forgive You".

Lori LaBossiere

I can't believe that someone can be that heartless. Put him back in his apartment with no food or water, then make him work at a animal shelter. I just don't understand how you could harm such a sweet animal.


10 minutes in a locked room with a phone book and a roll of dimes.