The Atlanta Falcons released linebacker Prince Shembo on Friday after police charged him earlier in the day with felony aggravated cruelty to an animal for allegedly killing his former girlfriend’s dog, according to ESPN.
The accusation evokes Michael Vick, a Falcons quarterback waived by the team, suspended by the league, and imprisoned by the criminal justice system for running a dog-fighting ring that resulted in brutal deaths for man’s best friends. Vick, currently a free agent, rejuvenated his career post-prison with the Eagles and last year played for the Jets.
The current allegation dates back more than a month, according to Gwinnett County Police in Georgia. They stated on Friday that on April 19, Denicia Williams, Shembo’s ex-girlfriend, called police to inform them that Shembo, 6’2”, 254 pounds, had killed her Yorkshire terrier. She said she had taken her dog, named Dior, to Shembo’s apartment on April 15, then left him with Shembo. When she returned, the dog was dead.
A necroscopy was performed on the dog April 21; the results, released on Thursday, showed the dog suffered a fractured rib, abdominal hemorrhage, head trauma, eye injuries, and tremendous bruising in the front leg and shoulders.
The Falcons stated on Friday, “We are aware of the charges that have been filed against Prince Shembo. We are extremely disappointed that one of our players is involved in something like this. Accordingly, we have decided to waive Prince Shembo.”
ESPN reported on Friday afternoon that Shembo had not turned himself in yet.
Shembo has a shady history. He admitted during the 2014 draft that he was the Notre Dame player under investigation in the case of Lizzy Seeberg, a St. Mary’s College student who alleged she was inappropriately touched in 2010, and killed herself less than two weeks after the alleged incident. Three days after the incident between Shembo and Seeberg, one of Shembo’s friends texted Seeberg, “Don’t do anything you would regret. Messing with notre dame football is a bad idea.”
She killed herself eight days later.
Shembo never faced charges. After the Falcons drafted him in the fourth round, he reflected: “Pretty much it was an unfortunate event. My name was pretty much cleared. It’s behind me now. I just want to focus on playing football for the Falcons.”