The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Atlanta Falcons, Prince Shembo Was Charged with Aggravated Cruelty to Animals in Connection with the Death of His Girlfriend’s Yorkie

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Atlanta Falcons, Prince Shembo Was Charged with Aggravated Cruelty to Animals in Connection with the Death of His Girlfriend’s Yorkie

Flowery Branch, GA - The Atlanta Falcons have waived linebacker Prince Shembo in light of the charges filed against him by authorities in Gwinnett County, GA, this afternoon.

"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," the team said in a statement released late Friday afternoon.

Gwinnett County Police said they received a call on Sunday, April 19 from 20-year-old Denicia Williams, who said her ex-boyfriend, the 23-year-old Shembo, had killed her dog. The initial police report said Williams and the dog, named Dior, went to Shembo's Buford apartment home on April 15. At some point during their stay, she says she left Shembo and the dog unattended. When she later found the dog, he was unresponsive. Shortly after taking the dog to Duluth Animal Hospital for treatment, the report said, the dog died.

A day later, according to the report, Williams and Shembo were talking about the incident on the phone discussing the incident. During the call, she says, Shembo made comments to her about kicking the dog. At that point, she says, she ended the relationship.

The body of the dog was taken to the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter for a necropsy, which occurred on April 21. Following the necropsy, tissue samples were sent to the University of Georgia for further testing. "Based on the necropsy and tissue samples there was a lot of extensive injuries on the inside of the dog," Cpl. Michele Pihera said.

The lead investigator conducted telephone interviews with Shembo while awaiting the test results. Those results were completed Thursday, May 28. The dog had significant internal injuries, and the cause of death was ruled as "blunt force trauma." Because of the inconsistencies of Shembo's account of what happened and the results of the necropsy, a warrant was obtained for Shembo on Friday, May 29.

Shembo was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals in connection with Dior's death.

Details of the warrant say the dog had a fractured rib, fractured liver, abdominal hemorrhage, thoracic hemorrhage, extensive bruising/hemorrhage in muscles in 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.

On Friday, the lead investigator contacted the Falcons to inform them of the warrant, leading to their action later in the day.

Denicia Williams and Dior went everywhere together, according to her father. She even took the dog to work on modeling jobs. Her father said as soon as she learned Shembo was charged with killing her dog, she broke up with him.

"I got attached to him (Dior)," Gary Williams said. "And to be honest with you, I cried when he passed."

Williams said he never liked his daughter's boyfriend because he seemed jealous of her dog. Williams said Shembo felt second to her dog. "He showed this jealousy of a little five-pound puppy," he said. "A 260-pound man. What kind of man would be jealous of a puppy?"

Shembo turned himself in to the Gwinnett County Jail Friday night with his mother and attorney by his side. Attorney Jerry Froelich said what happened to the dog was an accident. "He was putting the dog in a cage and the dog bit him on his hand," Froelich said. "He reflexed and kicked the dog."

Froelich said Shembo agreed to pay a $15,000 bond and he was released from jail Friday night. He said he wasn't surprised the Falcon cut his client given their history with Michael Vick and his dog-fighting scandal.

At the NFL Scouting Combine in February 2014, Shembo said he was the Notre Dame football player at the center of an investigation into sexual assault allegations made by a former student at Saint Mary's College, Lizzy Seeberg.

In September 2010, Seeberg said that a Notre Dame football player had attacked her in a dorm room. Nineteen-year-old Seeberg committed suicide 10 days later. The name of the player who allegedly had been the attacker had never been made public until Shembo came forward both to NFL team executives and to the media at the 2014 Combine.

"I have nothing to hide," Shembo said at the time. "I'm still here, so I know I didn't do anything. I tell them exactly what happened."

Gwinnett County is about 15 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta. 


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