The Atlanta Falcons have waived linebacker Prince Shembo after he was charged with aggravated animal cruelty Friday afternoon.
Police in suburban Gwinnett County say Shembo was charged after his ex-girlfriend's dog died from blunt force trauma last month.
Within two hours of the felony charge, the Falcons cut ties with Shembo. He was released from custody shortly after posting $15,000 bond, jail records showed.
Denicia Williams called police April 19 to report that her former boyfriend had killed her Yorkie named Dior. Williams told them she had taken Dior to Shembo’s home at a Mall of Georgia apartment complex four days earlier, according to police.
At some point during her stay, Williams left Shembo and her dog unattended. When she returned, Dior was unresponsive, she told police.
Williams took the dog to Duluth Animal Hospital, where Dior died shortly after her arrival.
The following day, Shembo allegedly made comments to Williams about killing the dog, and she broke up with him, according to police.
A necropsy was conducted at Gwinnett County Animal Shelter, and tissue samples were sent to the University of Georgia for further testing, according to police. Dior had significant internal injuries and the cause of death was blunt force trauma, veterinarians determined.
The dog had 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 lungs, hemorrhage between the esophagus and trachea, and hemorrhage in the left eye with internal injuries, police said. Investigators believe Shembo kicked the dog.
The Falcons responded to the allegations right away, releasing an emailed statement late Friday afternoon.
“We are aware of the charges that have been filed against Prince Shembo,” the team said. “We are extremely disappointed that one of our players is involved in something like this. Accordingly, we have decided to waive Prince Shembo.”
The 23-year-old Shembo, who played at Notre Dame, was a fourth-round pick for the Falcons in 2014. He had 59 tackles in 16 games last season.