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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Sherre Lacy-Hayes

Thank God for you. Have been unemployed a long time. Hoping that changes so I can resume sending you money (at least once a year). Thank you for all that you do!!!!!!! :)


We need tougher laws. ASPCA, l would work for free or l need some direction to open a rescue where l live. Help?!


Thank you for rescuing these babies. I hope that smith gets jail time and a fine. He deserves the maximum punishment and more for what he did.


In my opinion, any person(s) who are found guilty of abusing any kind of animal(s) should be registered on a nationwide computer stating that they can NEVER own any kind of animal ever again during their life.


As terrible as this could have been for these pups, I would first of all ask "Who gave or sold these pups to this young kid that lived in an apartment!?" That's where the problem started. Puppies are a lot of work/mess & obviously this kid wasn't up to the task. Also, when faced with a life crisis we often don't make the best or well-thought out decisions. So, should he face some penalty? Absolutely YES. But, at the same time, I hope he regrets what he did and learns from it so he can become a positive influence in life. That would be a better outcome than throwing all this negativity at him.


As sad as this story is, it happens far too often. For years, I managed properties in Tampa Bay. Long before the housing crisis and economic collapses took place, I was always diligent in checking any apartments or homes where an eviction had taken place. I found everything from fish to kittens, puppies, turtles, and even an alligator. It's amazing how some folks think of animals as "disposable." I am very happy that these two found their way to loving homes. They certainly are beautiful.


Our laws need to be a lot more tougher. This needs to be a felony not a misdemeanor.


Jerome Smith if he goes to jail will get medical attention and three square meals a day thanks to our tax dollars. I say put him in jail and starve him with no medical attention. A fine will do nothing but throw out in the streets and the legal system will never recover the fine. The bastard .


This is NOT a misdemeanor, it is inhumane animal cruelty. Well, hopefully in the 2 years, IF he serves the full 2 years, someone will beat the tar out of him.


Laws for adoptions of pets should be similar to adoption for children. This would help cut the cost of rehabilitation after animals have been abused. God gave us everything including animals we should treat them as we want to be treated.