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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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!!

lisa graetz

There is a special place in hell for Jerome Smith and all those like him. Boggles my mind that anyone could do this to any pet or ANY animal. Thank you ASPCA for all that you do and yeah for Jack and Jill who have found their forever loving homes...:)


It is good to see that Jack and Jill are much better today. Our puppy was similar when we rescued him. He could not even walk without getting fatigued early. The orginal 'owner' had him tethered outside in a 3-4 foot space, did not feed him, and did not provide water. The 'owner' was a renter of the home. The homeowner did not agree with the treatment of the puppy and asked my husband if he wanted him. My husband sent me a photo text and I told him to bring the puppy home with him and not to leave there without him. The homeowner and my husband were able to encourage the guy to let the puppy go. Now, our puppy is healthy (without ribs, hips, and legs/shoulders poking out), he runs a good few hours a day (he is a Viszla/Lab mix-very high energy :), stays in the house, enjoys premium food and plenty of chew treats and toys, and is very social with our family, friends, other pets, and dogs we pass by during our walks. It was one of the best decisions we ever made by not turning our backs on a helpless puppy. But, this story of Jack and Jill brings up a question in my mind. Are there laws in place that allow owners to give up their pets similar to the laws that allow mothers to give up their babies? Although I could not imagine separating from my companion animals as they are family, I would think this could reduce the abandonment issue that some pets may face from the human companion's/owner's unemployment and evictions and so on.


This makes me so sick - I could cry! Sweet little puppies who did nothing but love that jerk and he did that. I agree with what someone said - people like him need to receive the same treatment they give animals. Anyone that hurts animals or children are the worst monsters of society. The saying is true: "You can judge a nation by how it treats its animals." Just look at Mexico and how they treat animals there - and other Latin countries. They electrocute them in the street. So sick. I think they need to make the punishment fit the crime. He should get years in jail - it was attempted murder.


A fine is too easy. The 2 years in jail makes more sence. He should not be allowed to have contact with animals in the future. I bet 2 years behind bars would make an impression on the jerk.

Tack Bradley

any chance that whoever adopted Jill will take Jack? I fostered puppies and tried so hard to keep some of them together. I think Jack and Jill need eachother. But at least she got a home. We can only hope for Jack.
So sad!

Dog Lover

Stories like this are so hard to read and yet provide such a feeling of joy that these dogs have been helped! The ASPCA to the rescue again! So glad these dogs have been saved! I will never understand heartless people who can do things like this to their sweet, helpless pets.


I love animals


I dont know who would have the guts to torture these poor animal. I cry every time I see these commercials and knowing that this is going on right now just breaks my heart. Good job ASPCA!


The owner's name is Jerome. Says it all . . . .