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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Adrienne Camfield

He should not have abandoned the pets, especially starved. Harlem is such a lousy place. Over twice the weight is quite a bit. At least they were still alive.

Bill Soper

Apart from the disgusting attitude of some owners as depicted here, the main cause is a built in "don't give a damn' attitude in general, and an 'its only an animal ' attitude to animals in general.
Something has been sadly lacking in the way these people were brought up, and perhaps this is where the cause may lie.
However, when these criminals are prosecuted, they are never asked to give an explanation for their behaviour. Even if they were of a belligerent attitude to the court, if it was common practice to expect an answer to be given, it would very soon become known that they were expected to explain themselves. The resultant publicity, also necessary, would ensure that even the thickest culprit would next time give greater considerations to his brainless actions.


They should take this guy out and shhot him, or like another person said abandon them in a cell with no food and water. I adopted a little dog from out local shelter, and she was real thin and scared to death - she was shaking all over. She must have had a miserable life, but with some groceries and a lot of love, hugs and kisses, she is now very friendly, and loves to be paid attention to. She is a completly different dog. All it takes is love, food and care.

Sara Harrington

The most important thing is to make sure the 23 year old abuser is never able to adopt or own animals again. The Animal Legal Defense Fund (gets 4 stars from Charity Navigator) is trying to have implemented a nation-wide registry of animal abusers so rescue shelters etc. will be able to make sure they never adopt out an animal to an abuser. Please help ALDF get this law implemented.

Michelle Diebele

Wait a minute! I understand he left them there but where was the landlord after he was evicted. How long were they left alone before someone found them? They didn't get in this condition overnight.


to who ever did this you are a piece of crap and I hope you get yours in jail..all you had to do was make a phone call and someone would have came to get them..I hope you die of starvation even just die who cares how,
you piece of shit


So nice that Jill found a family! I know logistically it's not always and option, but I wish more animal families or buddies could be kept together. Hopefully Jack finds a good home too.

kathy eckelmann

I am so very happy that these two dogs now have a better life. I agree the punishments for these people do not do enough. Just to let people know something else, my husband and myself had a person come to our house yesterday (he was from our insurance co.)asking if we owned any pitbulls; answer was no we have a little toy poodle and he asked a few other questions. Wanna bet if we said yes our insurance would have gone up or they would have dropped us. My husband was so annoyed he called the insurance agency and wanted to know why they wanted to know about pitbulls. Her response was well we would ask you to get rid of the dog or shop around for some other insurance. Can you believe this? I know pitbulls get a bad rap but I blame the owners for those dogs. I have met some very sweet pitbulls, can you imagine having to choose between your pet and your insurance co.? Just thought you would like to know about this, any comments?


I think its mean what he did but at least they were inside and safe from harm. He could have thrown them out a car on the expressway or drove them to a field and left them. He probably thought at least someone would find them in a few days and rescue them inside an apartment. So in a way I think what he did was kinder than what we hear so many times on TV or the internet.

aliyah gasper

wow that's hardly even a punishment he should be left in his house to starve for as long as he left those puppies!!