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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Margo Fragola

That is so sad and horrible that this irresponsible and ignorant man would do this to two tiny, helpless, innocent babies!! I am so glad that the ASPCA was able to save them in time! How did they find them before it was too late?? I wonder if it was the landlord who called them? I am a little sad that they did not get adopted out together. I adopted a rescue dog from a horrible "holding cell" where he and his sister lived for nearly a month with practically no human contact, and food only every few days when the police officers remembered to feed them. And it was only the deputy caring for them, the sheriff only allows dogs to stay there for 5 days before euthanization. But the deputy couldn't bare to put two baby puppies to sleep. Anyway, my point in saying all this - I guess i could have skipped the gory details but it breaks my heart to this day - is that when we adopted him we only took him, Ringo, and not his sister (who had supposedly already been claimed) but if I could do it over I would have really loved to adopt them both together because Ringo was completely dependent upon us for the first several weeks, we couldn't leave the house without him having severe separation anxiety and now he has some socialization problems (partially my fault for not socializing him more as a baby and partially from his traumatic first month or so of life - he's very fearful) and I know he would have been so much better if he had had his sister with him the whole time. But the important thing is that Jack and Jill, and Ringo and his sister, are safe and well-cared for and loved. Thank you to the people of the ASPCA, I so admire all that you do and that is why I support and will continue to support all your efforts to stop animal cruelty and neglect and save animals, as well as bringing abusers/neglecters to justice. Thank you and please continue your efforts. You have so many people behind you.

E Marie DeShaw

This sickens me I do not know why people even go and get a pet if they are going to do this to them. Just leave them behind like they are garbage. He should get more than 2 yrs. Not enough he should not be fed and see how he likes it.

Betty Priest-Gu...

Some people just have no heart, to leave helpless animals to fend for themselves, my heart breaks when i hear story's like this, I wish i could have a dog, but unfortunatly i live in an apartment and my landlord won't let me have a dog, tho we do have a sweet amle cat named Shamus, he is a real joy everyday he does the crazyiest things and makes us laugh and keeps us entertained.

DVM Carrillo

As a veterinarian, I know that these dogs we here about to die of starvation and malnourished beyond belief. Thank you ASPCA for all your hard work. I believe that if it wasn't for this organization thousands of animals around the world would die without even a second chance at life. Thank you!

Julie Sherlock

I love reading about these happy endings. You people do a wonderful job for all of these beautiful creatures. These events make me ashamed of the human race.

Christa McTall

I have rescued two puppies much smaller then these in a parking lot. We should take these people out in the middle of the dessert and leave them there.

John Boswell

Good thing this guy was arrested. So many have left their animals behind that are never tracked down and arrested. Happy for Jack and Jill !


No animal should have to go thru that!

andrea roosa

Please we need to petition to make animal cruelty more severe a crime. What is 2 yrs, $2000 fine compared to torture and abandoment? -crazy law

Lourdes Olivares

We need to have stiffer punishment so they truly fit the crime. . . two more pups saved, thousands to go.