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NFL player Shembo faces animal cruelty charge after girlfriend's dog dies

Police have charged Atlanta Falcons linebacker Prince Shembo 23, with aggravated animal cruelty after his girlfriend's dog died from blunt force trauma.

Gwinnett County police said in a news release that they obtained a warrant Friday for the NFL player's arrest. Police say Shembo's girlfriend called police on April 19 and said she had taken her Yorkie, Dior, to Shembo's apartment on April 15. At some point, she left the dog alone with Shembo and when she later found the dog, he was unresponsive.

Cops: Ex-Falcon Shembo considered fleeing country after dog’s death photo
Dior, a Yorkshire terrier, died of blunt force trauma, according to a necropsy. (Credit: Gwinnett County Police Department)

She took the dog to an animal hospital, where he died a short time later. Shembo told her the next day he had kicked the dog.

Shebo’s now-former girlfriend, model Denicia Williams, contacted police four days after the Yorkie’s April 15 death. According to the incident report, she had confronted Shembo and told him she’d been praying about what happened to her dog.

“What if I told you I kicked your dog?” Shembo asked, according to Williams.

Williams said she then asked if it had only been once. Shembo reportedly said no.

Williams stated that she told the suspect that she could not see him anymore,” the report said, “and Shembo stated that he might leave the country because he knows how much time he would do in prison for animal cruelty.”

Shembo, turned himself last Friday evening after Gwinnett County police charged him with aggravated cruelty to animals in connection with the death of his girlfriend’s Yorkshire terrier, Dior.

He was booked into the Gwinnett County jail around 8:45 p.m. and released on bond about 90 minutes later.

Shembo’s attorney, Jerry Froelich, has maintained that his client was reacting to a bite from the dog and kicked it only once, but the story Shembo’s girlfriend relayed to police suggests otherwise.