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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The punishment should fit the crime. However long those babies were left to starve should be how long this creep has to go without food, water, company, etc. Let him appreciate how it feels!!


It's unfathomable to me that we live in a society that thinks pets are disposable. I live in a wealthy county in NJ, and in my development in the last 6 years, 3 of my neighbors left pets behind! People you see everyday and would never think they could do such a thing...but they do, and that's how I wound up with more pets than I anticipated, but I, and a few caring others adopted them.
Yes, there needs to be stricter punishment for these heartless clods.
Last summer I got out of my car in a Walmart lot and there was a dog in a hot car panting and suffering. I called the police and they said they couldn't break into the car. I was devastated. I asked him if he would turn his back if I did to save the dog. He did not respond...but I would have broken the window and faced the charges if I had to. After another 10 minutes they found the guy approaching the vehicle, and he had no identification or drivers license and he had not only the dog, but 2 children in tow. Yes, lock these people up and hit them hard where it hurts, in the pocketbook! Throw the book at them, they rightly deserve it.


Why wasn't this prosecuted as a felony? We, as human beings, need to change the laws and make these kinds of heinous acts FELONIES! This guy should be left to starve and thirst...let's see how long it takes him to BEG for mercy! Shame on scum like this but clearly he has no conscience (sociopath) or compassion. His treatment in jail should be just as harsh as what he inflicted on these two pups.


What a digusting person this man is. Unthinkable...


There needs to be a registry for animal cruelty...just like sex offenders, etc. They should never be allowed to adopt or own a pet again!!

joann ilgenfritz

I am happy that the aspca was alerted and saved these pets, however since they were together, probably played together, wouldn't it have been nice to adopt them together? Just saying. I worked with the aspca in Maryland forever and adopted siblings together - but at least they are going to have a far better life, I hope, then before - hope you check homes carefully -


I agree that punishment for animal cruelty needs to have more weight, but jail time isn't the best answer because we the taxpayer are paying for the criminal's time there. "Community service" in an animal shelter is best, and hopefully would make them see how much the animals need our love and support!


Thank you for being there when Jack & Jill needed you.
Sadly, this story was repeated across this country as homes were foreclosed and people moved and left their pets behind. Many were not found in time.

I have moved across states 4 times and each time my cats and dogs moved with me.

Kim Fountain

I personally think that all foreclosures and eviction properties should be looked at immediately after the person(s)depart. I would volunteer my time and gas to inspect these properties for abandoned animals. All these people should be held accountable for their abandoning their animals.


this is so sad i have seen animals like this all the time when i walk around the park