The Atlanta Falcons have officially waived linebacker Prince Shembo after he was charged with felony animal cruelty on Friday, the team announced. Shembo was charged in Gwinnett County, Georgia, as first reported by Zach Klein of WSB-TV Atlanta. The second-year player allegedly kicked and killed his girlfriend's dog.
According to the police report, Denicia Williams found her dog unresponsive after taking him to visit Shembo, her then-boyfriend, on April 15. The dog died shortly after. The following day, Shembo told Williams that he had kicked the dog, at which point she ended the relationship.
The body of the dog underwent a necropsy, which confirmed on May 28 that it suffered from a broken rib, fractured liver, abdominal hemorrhage, thoracic hemorrhage and extensive bruising. Police then obtained a warrant for Shembo for aggravated cruelty to animals Friday.
"We are aware of the charges that have been filed against Prince Shembo," the team said 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."
In 2010, a female student at St. Mary's University, Lizzy Seeberg, accused Shembo, then a player at Notre Dame, of sexual battery. After Seeberg filed a police report, Shembo refused to cooperate with any attempt by law enforcement to obtain a statement. His roommate at the time threatened Seeberg with a text message that read, "Don't do anything you would regret. Messing with Notre Dame football is a bad idea." Seeberg died by suicide less than two weeks after the alleged assault took place. Shembo was not charged with a crime partly because the only witness was dead and any statements made prior to her death would not have been admissible.
The Falcons drafted Shembo in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. The linebacker finished his first season with three starts and 59 tackles.