AUG. 14, 2015 UPDATE: Prince Shembo’s felony charge for killing Dior was reduced to a misdemeanor, so the Atlanta Falcons are considering welcoming him back to the team.
Within a couple of hours after Atlanta Falcons player Prince Shembo was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals for killing his girlfriend’s dog, the team let the loser linebacker go.
“We are aware of the charges that have been filed against Prince Shembo,” the Falcons said this afternoon in a statement. “We are extremely disappointed that one of our players is involved in something like this. Accordingly, we have decided to waive Prince Shembo.”
On April 19, Denicia Williams, Shembo’s then-girlfriend, told police she had left Dior, her Yorkshire Terrier, with Shembo. When she returned to Shembo’s apartment, the dog was unresponsive. Dior died a short time later at a local animal hospital.
Williams said Shembo told her the next day that he had kicked the dog. (Shembo weighs 260 pounds; a Yorkie typically weighs about 7 pounds.) Williams wisely ended the relationship.
According to the police report, a necropsy revealed that little Dior had suffered a litany of horrific injuries: a fractured rib; fractured liver; abdominal hemorrhage; thoracic hemorrhage; extensive bruising and hemorrhage in the muscles in her front leg and shoulders; head trauma; hemorrhage and edema in her lungs; hemorrhage between her esophagus and trachea; and hemorrhage in the her left eye.
The cause of her death was blunt force trauma.
After posting $15,000 bail, Shembo was released from jail late Friday evening.
His attorney, Jerry Froelich, told reporters his client was in tears over the arrest and had kicked Dior only because the dog bit him, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
“He didn’t mean to kill him,” Froelich said. (As I previously mentioned, Shembo weighs 260 pounds; a Yorkie typically weighs about 7 pounds.)
Shembo is not the only NFL player currently facing felony dog abuse charges.
Terence Cody, who was dropped from the Baltimore Ravens, is facing felony charges of intentionally torturing and cruelly killing his dog Taz, a Presa Canarios Mastiff. He is also charged with inflicting unnecessary suffering or pain on his dog; not providing his dog with nutritious food in sufficiency quantity; not providing proper drink; not providing proper space; and not providing necessary veterinary care. His court date has been scheduled for August 11.
Dwight Jones, a former wide receiver for the New York Jets, was charged last month with felony animal cruelty for letting one of his Pit Bull mixes starve to death. He has not yet been assigned a court date.
Photos: Thomson200; Gwinnett County Police Department