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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Our animal cruelty laws are woefully inadequate. Anyone who would treat poor, innocent little puppies like this should be in jail for a long, long time.

David Girard

This article made me cry. I have donated to the ASPCA in the past and continue to support their efforts. Great ending and I hope both pups find a great loving home.


Let's try something new, let's get rid of the bleeding hearts and let's prosecute this scum bag to the fullest extent of the law!


I hope this guy gets some time & a fine for his cruelty to his 2 puppies.

I agree with comments before that animal cruelty laws should be tougher. I feel that there should be a National Database for animal abusers just like for child abusers. This database should be available to anyone who wants to look, kind of like "the Scarlet Letter". I would also suggest microchipping them to keep track of them. These people should NEVER be allowed to have pets or children either. If he can't take care of a pet, he wouldn't take care of a child either. I also believe their fines should go to organizations that rescue animals from abuse/neglect, like ASPCA & the Humane Society. In a more perfect world, if you could not take care of your pet, there should be number to call for a no-kill shelter to help find a loving home for that pet.

Korrine Tanner

I foster several cats for a local shelter,and I would NEVER consider doing anything so horrible. Anyone who abuses or neglects and animal should receive a lot more severe punishment!!

It's terrible how some people treat their animals, I know these people face jail+fines, which they usually skate on. I think courts should make these people do community services in animal shelters,lots of hours.Most of these people don't go to jail, since they are overcrowded!

Karen McCormick

The animal who did this to these sweet babies need way more time behind bars and a much bigger fine and when he gets out donate his time to help in the shelter walk and FEED the animals and clean up after them for 5 years and when he gets a job order to give half of his pay check to the A.S.P.C.A.Then maybe just maybe he will turn his cruel life around,oh a no pets for this man the only pets that he would see are the ones that he is HELPING taking care of in the shelter under supervision..That's what i would give him if i was the judge,People who are being cruel to animals are getting away with it,with just a slap on the waist and a small fine.Come on stick it to them A.S.P.C.A Remember your speaking for the animals your their voice make it count.Thank You for your time Sincerely Yours and also a member Mrs.Karen McCormick


What they need to do is get their priorities straight. Release the pot smokers and then you'll have plenty of space for those abusive jerks. People who inflict purposeful pain and misery are a bigger concern than pot dealers. Good grief.


I really fear for all animals. People just don't understand that animals are no different than humans. So glad these pups were saved.


I only read a few of the comments here, but didn't see if anyone thought about the fact that this young man if down on his luck being evicted etc. Could have simply given the dogs to a shelter stating that he was no longer in a position to care for them. It's not a crime to give up your pets because you can no longer provide for them, but you still have to act in their best interest and welfare by leaving them with a responsible party or organization that is equipped to care for them. Many people say that it's just a pet not like a human baby or as some of the comments here about if he could do this to dogs he could do it to humans too. Personally, I don't see the difference it's a life you signed up to care for human, dog cat or even fish. They are defenseless, innocent and depend on you for everything and give love unconditionally. They also feel pain as we do, I have a cat and she is my child my baby I love and care for her and regard her just as I would another human. If something happened where I could no longer provide, food, shelter, medical care and love, I would need to ensure she was left with someone who could. Shelters will take animals and work to find them good loving homes. Personally I see no difference in taking an animal to a shelter or giving your baby up for adoption or leaving it at a fire station. Yet so many people do not.