Atlanta Falcons linebacker Prince Shembo has been arrested on animal cruelty charges by Gwinnett Police after being accused of killing his girlfriend's dog, Vaughn McClure of ESPN reported.
The Falcons announced they had released the linebacker later 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."
On June 2, Tyler Estep of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution revealed an incident report obtained by the newspaper indicated Shembo admitted to kicking his girlfriend's dog multiple times. Estep also reported Shembo considered fleeing the country following the dog's death.
Alexis Stevens of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution provided details from Shembo's attorney, Jerry Froelich, who said, "He didn't mean to kill the dog." Froelich also indicated his client was "in tears over his arrest and release from the team," according to Stevens.
Stevens passed along more details of the incident:
Denicia Williams called police April 19 to report that her former boyfriend had killed her Yorkie, named Dior. Williams told police 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, Dion 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, she told police.
Shembo was a fourth-round pick by Atlanta in the 2014 draft. He appeared in all 16 games as a rookie, making three starts, and recorded 59 total tackles with two stuffs, per ESPN. The 23-year-old played college football at Notre Dame where he recorded 19.5 sacks in four seasons.