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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catherine davis

He COULD get two years in jail? Not good enough! And he better get the maximum sentence or this will never stop!! people have to be punished for animal abuse in order for this to ever be prevented in the future.


I just wanted to add that no punishment fits this crime. Animals are not able to open the door and go out to get food. They are at the mercy of humans and with people like this guy who claims to be human, they have no chance or surviving. Thank God for these rescue groups that care about these precious creatures. I think the time should fit the crime: lock them in a room without food/water and let them starve for as long as the animals did. Let them see what it's like and maybe, just maybe, they would never do anything like this again. The sentencing for anmal abusers is a joke; they literally get away with murder and unless we do more, these abuses will continue. This along with hundreds of other things that I read, makes me sick.


In every housing unit that we lived in, someone would abandon a few dogs or a cat in the apartment he or she and the family left behind. In Germany, cats were being born in the stairwell; in Fort Knox, dogs and cats were found in the basement of more than one place. I have no idea why people think moving with a pet is so hard, but apparently many military families do. (We moved 2,800 miles with a giant dog and four cats, and it was not impossible.) If you are ever giving pets away for free near a miltary community, please make sure to ask any military family seeking to adopt from you how often they have given pets away because they have moved, and if you are suspicious of someone's denying it, do not adopt the pet out.

Karen Giammarco

What an ass for leaving them poor helpless animals. I say put him in jail, fine him more than $2000 and most of all starve him til he is almost dead. Who cares about his health. I have no use for humans that abuse and neglect these animals. If they cannot care for them, at least give them to a person(s) who can help them. I live in Ohio and we need harsher punishments for animals abusers. Our law makers here are so damn selfish, they pass stupid laws and we cannot get them to pass a law against animal cruelty and abuse. These politians need to be abused and tortured themselves to know what these animals are going through. Shame on them. Thank God the dogs were rescued and you are the best for helping them.



Debbie Gordon

Thank you to the ASPCA for taking care of these beautiful puppies!!


til I looked at the receipt four $4334, I have faith that my neighbour was like actualy bringing home money in there spare time on-line.. there dads buddy had bean doing this for only fourteen months and a short time ago took care of the loans on their house and got a great Lancia. I went here, FAB33.COM


I don't have a Car. I use to be able to go out and catch and take animals to a shelter. But with my health, I can't anymore. And there are so many strays, and even have neighbors that Cats aren't fixed that let's their Cats out, and their Not Fixed, they say they can't afford to get them fixed, so they let them outside, and the cats are multiplying so much. I don't know what to do to help them all, I put food and water out, because it breaks my heart seeing so many outside. But this must be dealt with. And not sure where to go or who can do something about this. I know feeding them doesn't give them the care and love they need. How do I get people out here to rescue them?


I could not imagine any reason on this earth to leave your puppies behind. Even if you couldn't take them to your new place you could still find them homes or take them to a shelter and explain why you can not have them. I have 5 five month old puppies and I would never even consider leaving them behind. Their momma was a pregnant stray that we found at our job site and brought home. I already have a 12 yr old chihuahua/pom mix. She loves those puppies too. I can't imagine them not being in my life. I love all of them dearly! They have such great personalities! Love my dogs!

Lucille Bostwick

This is so sad but not surprising. The laws have to be changed not only in the US but all around the world. We are not doing enough to protect these poor animals. No matter how hard we try the penaties are just not being inforced or harsh enough. If you are abusing animals it should not be "POSSIBLE PENALTIES OR JAIL TIME". It should be PENALTIES AND/OR JAIL TIME. But the criminal system protects them and they know they will only get a slap on the wrist. And sent on their merry way to do it again, and again.

Background checks should be the answer. People are abusing our children everyday. So why would they not think twice in abusing these poor animals.

In 2003 my poor cat Bella was going to be put on the streets by her owner when he moved out of his apartment. I would feed her and give her a warm place to slept most of time she lived there. Although, I'm allergic to pet hair I took her in with no concerns for my own health. She is more then just my pet. She truly is a big part of my family. Her vet tells me I spoil her too much. I have more love for her than I have for some people in my life.