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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Lanni Fish

One of my renters moved out and left a beautiful, half-grown pitbull pup behind, no food, no water, no shelter. She had told my rental agent earlier that it belonged to her boyfriend. When I found the pup, I called the police, who identified the boyfriend by linking with my renter's name. Turns out he was wanted, classified as dangerous, and by the condition of the house, with kicked-in doors, was abusive to my renter as well. I can only imagine the plans he had for that little dog. Evil begets evil, no doubt about it.

Pamela Leonard

This just goes to show people that everybody don't like pets. In this case we might have just saved their lives, the boy is 23 yrs old, seems to me like these to angels were going to be used to fight and or become bait. Sad that the ahole thought that to leave them would be best, but he probably is up to no good anyway.


He should be locked away w/no food or water and see how he likes it! If he treats animals this way imagine how he treats people. People like that do not deserve to have animals as pets!


I wish that people were made to fill out an application and get a background check to be able to adopt or own a dog or cat. Also, someone that does this to an animal, should go to jail and never, EVER be able to adopt or own another living creature.

Susan Blocker

U.S. needs to work harder at creating harsher punishment towards ALL animal abusers. This guy received a slap on the wrist. If this were a child that he had abandoned he'd be underneath a jail cell. Animals are living breathing beings and they to deserve to be respected just like humans. This sub-human being abandoned two helpless puppies. He left them to starve and die. First he should be charged with abandonment, cruelty to animals and attempted murder. If no one had rescued these pups thgey would have died. Again I stress animals are living, breathing beings and there suffering is no less then human suffering. This sub human being needs to spend at least 5-10 years in jail and pay $10,000 fine. Stiffer penalties may curve animal abusers. Slap on the wrist is a joke and an insult to these two pups that nearly lost their lives.

john clegg

Just look at the faces before and after. You can see the stress and sadness. Look at the after, content and happy.


Not sure I would want someone who would abandon a pet to work in a shelter. If he/she has so little regard for animals, I wouldn't trust them not to abuse a pet anywhere if not monitored at all times. If you abandon a pet you know it will starve...why would a starving pet taken into a shelter move them to do the right thing?


This why pets need to not be labled as property in the eyes of the law. They have a heart. They have feelings. They give un conditional love. And no matter how they are mistreated they will still protect you. Hope jack finds a forever home.

Donna Hanneken

The laws are too lax in their fines and penalties! There needs to be a stiffer fine and jail time for such acts.

Linda Noll

A person who has no compassion is not to be trusted. You do not HAVE to have animal companions. Just compassion for any living thing. Anyone who gets in my face - stranger or acquaintance - because I have my cats and horses is not someone I CHOOSE to know or have anywhere near me. I do believe in an eye for an eye in circumstances like this. It has been proven time and again - that serial killers have a background of torturing and killing animals. There should be tougher laws on these type of things. I don't know how this guy could sleep at night. ---and it defies logic since there were alternatives.
thanks for listening all.