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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Common Sense

This conduct is symptomatic of a gravely disturbed, heartless and malicious individual. The penalties for this sort of behavior directed toward another species of intelligent animal must be equivalent to child endangerment and child abuse. How will this person strike out and react in the next difficult situation he encounters? Will he drive through a group of school children waiting for a bus?
Under most states' laws, no person can create a substantial risk to the health or safety of a child by violating a duty of care, protection or support. Our laws should protect equally the animals which we assume resonsibility for when we adopt them.
We need to wake up and realize other living intelligent species experience the same feelings and emotions as humans. We need to make this dialog main stream. The benefits we will derive as a society will be universal. Whether we choose to admit it or not this sort of heartlessness circles back to what we saw displayed in Newtown Connecticut at Sandy Hook Elementary on Dec. 14.

kim hart

The sentece is not enough. This guy should have to stay in prison for several years and pay the fine and never be able to own an animal again. Thank God for the police and the ASPCA. These 2 are very lucky and the ones who get them are truly blessed.

Ohio doesn't even have laws at all against animal cruelty. Ohio only now just passed a law against owning exotic animals. Ohio doesn't care about animal abuse, child abuse or domestic violence. Move to Ohio you can get away with murder.

Patty Fernandez

I get so upset with anyone who hurts an animal in any way - they should be treated and starved as punishment! One of my neighbors gave us a dog who was abandoned in his home with no food or water - we love him so much his name is Coco and what a love!


I think they need harsher punishment for people who abuse animals.Animals are living breathing entities just like us.Yes! They have all the feelings we do,also.Mostly unconditional love.They need to screen people better before adoption of any animal.Breeders included.


I am so glad that the ASPCA had Jack and Jill just in time. I can relate to the situation as a beautiful stray Bengal/Tabby I found starving and dehydrated. Needless to say Skittles has a good home now and has bnce back with the care of her new owners.


Another stupid human! Take them to a shelter, its NOT that least for him... he was letting those poor babies STARVE!

their pockets!

I think the punishment and fine should be more substantial, 5 years and 10,000 dollars. 2 1/2 years and $5,000. for ea. pet tortured or whatever the rule is for torture/starvation/abuse and possibly murder for humans should apply.

Jaime Perez

It makes me sick to hear when people do these kinds of horrible things to animals. They babies didn't deserve to be left to die. I hope this monster gets thrown in jail with some very mean people -who happen to love animals!! Better yet, lock him away and strave him, see how it feels.

I hope this man goes to jail. A $2000 fine won't do enough to make him realize how awful what he did is.