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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What I want to know is---where was the landlord?????? Who threw the guy out---no one heard the dogs barking---after someone moves out--a crew comes in to clean and paint----so who really is the culprit???


I think the key part of this whole thing is that they charged they charged him with a MISDEMEANOR. He should have been charged wwith a felony. Until the punishment matches the crime it will never stop.

Kelley King

I'm so happy for them both!
But cruelty is rampant in this world, towards animals, children, the elderly....and it is getting worse.
What bothers me is the penalty for these things. In my state, we fought long and hard -- standing with signs in front of our state house, countless letter writing campaigns, and we finally got it changed from a misdemeanor to a felony, which is as it should be.
I just wish these rotten individuals (I can't really call them people) would have nothing to do with animals.
My hat is always off to the ASPCA and other law enforcement people who work so tirelessly. I love convictions!


What I can't understand is the punishment.... why can't we have stricter punishments for sickos like this!!!!!?????? Misdemeanor?
Give me a break! Put him in a cell with no food and water for a week and see what happens! oh yeah right.... the bleeding hearts wouldn't stand for that, would they? I'm so glad these puppies are doing well, too bad they couldn't have been adopted together.


They should post his picture, as well as the other horrible people out there that make a choice to hurt or abuse animals, post the pictures in anywhere the public has access, like the hot lines they have for pediphiles...but expecially in shelters etc, so that they don't have an opportunity to hurt another animal.

maria harrington

the laws need to be changed pets are considered possessions like a chair. they need tougher laws he has no regard for life


There is no such thing as evil, it's called bad or corrupt DNA... And we should do everything in our power to let science fix that!


How can anyone be so cruel?! I rather starve myself to feed my doggies!

Catherine Nunez

I will never understand why and/or how people can abandon their pets. My feeling, is that all people who are guilty of this, should be arrested, and sent to jail. Let them suffer like their pets suffered, and they should never again be permitted to have another pet in their life.


This happened a lot out here in Phoneix during the housing "crash." People would be evicted or go into foreclosure and leave their pets in the backyard or in the house and just leave the door cracked so they could get in and out. The worst is when they would do it during the summer months when our temps can reach the 120's. :( They would crack open a big bag of food, fill up some water bowls and take off. Thank goodness for attentive neighbors who assisted in rescuing some of these dogs, but it was usually a pretty sad deal.