Felony animal-cruelty charges against former Falcons linebacker Prince Shembo were recently dismissed in Gwinnett County, his agent told The Atlanta-Journal Constitution on Thursday.
The Falcons waived Shembo, who was charged with killing his ex-girlfriend’s dog, on May 29.
Because it was established that the dog bit Shembo first, the charges were reduced. He pleaded to a misdemeanor and a $1,000 fine, according to Adisa Bakari, his Washington, D.C.-based agent.
“Now that this matter is settled,” Bakari said. “We are excited to see if he can resume his career in the NFL.”
Gwinnett County’s district attorney’s web site shows that the case has been disposed without appeal.
Shembo could still be subject to the NFL’s player-conduct policy and may face a suspension if he re-signs with another team.
Shembo allegedly kicked his ex-girlfriend’s small dog because it bit him. Shembo was in tears over his arrest and release from the team, attorney Jerry Froelich said at the time.
“He didn’t mean to kill the dog,” Froelich told reporters outside the Gwinnett County jail in late May.
But the Yorkie’s injuries were extensive, according to police. Friday afternoon, Shembo, 23, was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, a felony, Cpl. Michele Pihera said. Within two hours, Shembo was released from the team, and he quickly surrendered to authorities. He was released shortly after 10 p.m. after posting $15,000 bond, jail records showed.
In recent weeks, he’s been working out at the L.A. Fitness in Buford in order to stay in shape.
Froelich said Shembo owns a dog and has never hurt it.
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, 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, she told 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 believed Shembo kicked the dog.
Shembo, a linebacker who played at Notre Dame, was a fourth-round pick for the Falcons in 2014. He had 59 tackles in 16 games last season.
Although he was never charged, Shembo was investigated for allegedly sexually assaulting a Saint Mary’s College freshman in his dorm room in 2010. The 19-year-old woman killed herself 10 days later by taking an overdose of the antidepressant Effexor.
“Pretty much it was an unfortunate event,” Shembo told reporters after being drafted. “My name was pretty much cleared. It’s behind me now. I just want to focus on playing football for the Atlanta Falcons.”
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