Ex-Jaguar Telvin Smith cited for animal neglect

Inspector noted dogs tied up without access to shelter, water

VIDEO: Ex-Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith is facing more legal trouble after several citations for animal neglect.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Ex-Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith is facing more legal trouble after several citations for animal neglect.

The 29-year-old Florida State University standout racked up 7 civil citations after a Jacksonville Animal Care and Protective Services inspector said he left his dogs unattended and illegally tethered in his yard. He is also accused of not registering his three animals.

In total, the fines amount to more than $3,000.

It’s the latest issue for Smith, who was arrested in April on accusations of having an inappropriate relationship with a teenage girl.

Smith bonded out of jail hours after his arrest and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In new documents discovered by the News4Jax I-TEAM, an ACPS officer claims to have found Smith’s dogs outside and illegally tied up at his property in Queen’s Harbour.

The I-TEAM obtained seven civil citations total. In one, an officer noted that a dog was “improperly tethered on the fence with no shelter, tangled and unable to reach water.” The inspector wrote that the tethers weren’t long enough to be safe and that there was “no owner present.” It was classified as animal neglect.

According to Jacksonville’s ordinance: a tether must allow an animal to move at least 10 feet in all directions, they must be able to reach shelter and have access to sufficient food and water.

Inspectors wrote Smith his first violations on July 10. When they returned 6 days later, they found the same problems. Each citation comes with a $505 fine. The documents note that Smith refused to sign the tickets.

A police officer was also there as a witness. News4Jax has requested the evidence photos and case reports from the city. The request is pending.

“Dogs can’t sweat so it’s really difficult for them to cool off unless they have direct access to water or shade,” said veterinarian Chase McCall, who works at San Pablo Animal Hospital. “If the dog is chained up, they can kind of panic or pace when they get hot and that can lead to choking.”

McCall is not involved in Smith’s case but wants pet owners to be careful.

“If a dog’s temperature gets over 107 degrees, can cause G.I. issues, kidney issues, seizures, and in some cases, deaths,” he said. “And I also worry about them getting too anxious or worked up to the point where they could potentially choke or strangle themselves.”

In November, a day before Thanksgiving, News4Jax saw Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office special assault detectives and the SWAT team raid his home and seize his SUV as part of an investigation into sex charges. Smith was not arrested at the time.

Police arrested him in April, accusing him of a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl. He’s pleaded not guilty to the charge of unlawful sexual activity with certain minors.

The Jaguars fined Smith more than $88,000 for missing the team’s mandatory three-day minicamp in June. Smith avoided future fines by filing retirement paperwork with the NFL before training camp.

Jacksonville placed him on the league’s reserve/retired list, which paused his contract and freed up a roster spot as well as $9.75 million in salary cap space in 2019. It also protected Smith from fines and NFL testing policies.

Smith has three years remaining on his current deal, which averages $10 million annually in base salary.

Smith has a mandatory court appearance for the animal neglect cases later this month on Aug. 26. The sexual abuse case is set to go back before a judge next month on Sept. 17.

Smith has not spoken publicly about either case or any allegations against him.

Hank Coxe, Smith’s attorney for the criminal case, said he had no comment about either case when News4Jax reached him by phone Thursday morning.

About the Author:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.