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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Fabiola García

I would punish those who starve and mistreat innocent animals to a minimum of 1 year taking care of any of them, by feeding, bathing, cleaning their facilities, and not allowing to have any other pets at home, in order to avoid future misdeeds. People of that kind should be held responsible and punish by law.


I had a Yorkie & got to where I could not take care of her my heaalth was not good I gave her a good home with a family of 4 Mom & Dad & 2 children they were happy to have her


An eye for an eye I say. This guy should suffer the same fate or worse. Definitely prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Some people just make me sick.

Barbara B.

I cant see why anyone would do this to any animal.If Thomas does go to jail, why is it for only 2 years. I think if he is found guilty, he should get at least 5 years. After all if this was done to a human they would get more than 2 years. Animals need more rights. Animals dont get enough justice for what is done to them.


I am an attorney in ny. I am offering my services for free to prosecute this man. Someone needs to stand up for these poor defenseless and loving creatures.


The problem with the animal laws is that the judges, prosecuters and attorneys just don't understand the laws. They need to have a special animal court to deal with scumbags like. this. Also Congress needs to stiffen the penalties for people ( I mean sickos) who treat poor defenseless animals in any cruel way... God bless all of the animals tonight who are suffering.lets get all of these animals to a safe place. Please adopt from a shelter and lets get all animals a home..... until there are none...

Cynthia Wright

Make animal abuse a felony, with minimum mandatory sentence and fine.


I am happy to hear that both pets are adopted. I wish they were kept together but I am sure ASPCA has found them good homes. Maybe they can get to see each other every once in a while.

I am unhappy that the charges were misdemeanors. What that jerk did should be a felony, with at least 5 years jail time. Crack down harder!


So happy for Jack, shame they had to be broken up.


I wonder if Mr, Smith would Iike to be locked away with no food or water