The Atlanta Falcons have waived linebacker Prince Shembo after his arrest on animal cruelty charges filed in connection with the death of his girlfriend’s Yorkshire terrier.
Shembo is accused of kicking the dog, named Dior, after she bit him.
“We are extremely disappointed that one of our players is involved in something like this. Accordingly, we have decided to waive Prince Shembo,” read a statement from the Falcons — the team Michael Vick was quarterbacking when he was arrested in connection with a dogfighting operation.
Shembo’s attorney, Jerry Froelich, who appears in the video above, said Shembo was in tears over his arrest and release from the team.
“He didn’t mean to kill the dog,” Froelich told reporters outside the Gwinnett County jail.”
Shembo, 23, was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, a felony, and released from jail after posting $15,000 bond, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
He was waived by the Falcons within two hours.
That was a far swifter reaction by the team than was the case with Vick.
He wasn’t formally released from the team for years — not until after he had served the prison portion of his sentence.
Shembo’s girlfriend — now former girlfriend –called police in April to report that Shembo had killed Dior while caring for her in his home.
The dog died shortly after she took her to an animal hospital.
The following day, she told police, Shembo made comments to her about killing the dog, and she broke up with him.
Police said Dior had significant internal injuries and the cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma.
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.
Shembo, a linebacker who played at Notre Dame, was a fourth-round pick for the Falcons in 2014.
The Atlanta newspaper reported that 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.”
Posted by John Woestendiek June 1st, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal cruelty, animals, atlanta, atlanta falcons, dior, dog, dogs, girlfriends, kicked, kicking, linebacker, nfl, pets, prince shembo, yorkie, yorkshire terrier
Budweiser’s new public service message encouraging responsible drinking lets a dog make the point:
“Next time you go out, be sure to make a plan to get home safely, because friends are waiting.”
Sure, they could have used a worried spouse, or a cute child, but somehow a dog drives the point home even better. Nobody waits for you like a dog does, and no one seems happier to see you come through the front door.
By using a dog, and making the ad’s ending happy, this public service message avoids becoming heavy-handed, sanctimonious, preachy and blatantly tear-jerking (unlike some of those PSA’s animal welfare organizations produce).
That, and being so on point, are what make it so effective.
In a decade of writing about dogs, and their people, I’ve had many people tell me how their dogs have changed their lives, and made their lives worth living. Some go so far to say their dog helped them move out of a criminal lifestyle or kept them from committing suicide. Dogs give us a reason to live, and a reason to live responsibly.
Dogs make us do the right thing.
Beer does the opposite.
Given alcohol is a factor in nearly a third of all traffic related deaths, there will be those who see some hypocrisy in a company simultaneously bombarding us with beer ads and telling us to drink responsibly.
Some accused the company of just that last week, when Anheuser-Busch, the official sponsor of the NFL season, issued its statement expressing concern about domestic abuse among NFL players, given alcohol and substance abuse play a role in nearly two out of three domestic violence cases, according to some studies.
“We are disappointed and increasingly concerned by the recent incidents that have overshadowed this NFL season,” Anheuser-Busch said in the statement — not directly threatening to end its $194 million relationship with the NFL, but, between the lines, raising that possibility. “We are not yet satisfied with the league’s handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company culture and code.”
Both the domestic abuse statement and the responsible drinking PSA came out last week. The latter was posted on YouTube Friday.
Maybe Anheuser-Busch is becoming more socially conscious, or maybe it’s just buffing up its image.
Some may think Anheuser-Busch, both with its domestic violence statement and its responsible drinking PSA, is getting on a high horse it has no right to mount (Clydesdale, maybe?).
“How crazy is this?” Jon Stewart noted last week on The Daily Show. “A company that sells alcohol is the moral touchstone of the NFL.”
That’s one way to look at it: A beer company shouldn’t try to set our moral compass — and has no right to do so.
One could also say — given the social problems its products tend to spawn and exacerbate — that a beer company has every duty to take such actions, and produce such ads.
In any event, we’re glad they made this one, and we hope to see it on television at least as often as we do the Clydesdales.
(Woof in Advertising is an occasional feature on ohmidog! that looks at how dogs are used in advertising. For more Woof in Advertising posts, click here.)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 23rd, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abuse, ad, advertising, anheuser busch, animals, bud, budweiser, commercial, dog, dogs, domestic violence, drinking, driving, drunk, drunk driving, friends are waiting, hypocrisy, marketing, media, national football league, nfl, pets, psa, public service annoucement, responsibility, responsible, woof in advertising
The event, held to honor local athletes, is scheduled for Feb. 12.
Officials with the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, which is sponsoring the event, say they’re reviewing the complaints that have flooded in online about the appearance of the quarterback, who was convicted and served time in connection with his dogfighting operation.
But they say they have no plans to disinvite Vick.
“There is a group of folks, who are very unhappy with Mr. Vick for a variety of reasons — and they are passionate about it,” said Harvey Schmitt, president and CEO of the chamber.
But, he added, “Mr. Vick has an interesting story to tell. It is one of an attempt for his personal redemption.” Schmitt also stressed the event isn’t about honoring Vick, but spotlighting local sports stars. “The recognition is not for Mr. Vick,” he said.
The announcement of the event on the chamber’s Facebook page has drawn more than 1,000 comments, almost all of them negative.
“If you want a few Champions to speak to your little group, how about inviting the people who had to rescue and rehabilitate the dogs that survived their experience with Michael Vick? Or lets hear from the people that had to deal with the bodies of the ones that did NOT survive Michael Vick? THOSE are the true champions,” wrote a woman who identified herself as Sandra Melvin.
A group organizing a protest at the event has seen 1,600 sign up to attend, according to its Facebook page.
Meanwhile, a petition demanding the chamber remove Vick from the program has been signed by nearly 70,000 people on the website Change.org.
Organizers say the event is an opportunity to “learn the real story about his incredible NFL career, his meteoric rise from poverty to riches and fame, his downfall, and his improbable comeback.”
The program is being held at PNC Arena, with tickets running as much as $75 each.
Chamber officials declined to say how much Vick is getting paid for the appearance, according to WNCN, which first broke the story.
Vick, currently a free agent, played for the Atlanta Falcons at the time of his arrest and, after his prison sentence, was hired by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 5th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, animal welfare, chamber of commerce, dog fighting, dogfighting, evening of champions, event, greater raleigh chamber of commerce, michael vick, nfl, north carolina, philadelphia eagles, quarterback, raleigh, redemption, speaker, speaking, sports, vick
When NFL defensive lineman Michael Bennett left the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year to join the Seattle Seahawks, he left his dog behind.
As his new team ran up a record that may see them heading to the Super Bowl, his boxer puppy, named Koa, languished in a Tampa boarding kennel.
Bennett, according to a lawsuit, apparently didn’t get around to transporting the dog to his new home, or paying the dog’s boarding fees, or returning the kennel’s calls.
A lawsuit filed by the kennel, Lucky Dog Daycare and Resort, is seeking $5,000 to cover the costs for Koa’s care and expenses related to finding him a new home.
Koa was four months old when left at the kennel, in March, 2013.
In the lawsuit, the kennel claims the puppy was so distraught after being abandoned, he “eventually began refusing to eat, losing his hair and clearly failing to thrive.”
Seattle Dog Spot reported back in November that Bennett, despite his $5 million a year salary, had neither reclaimed his dog nor paid for the dog’s boarding.
TMZ reported last week that the kennel had filed a lawsuit. Bennett hasn’t responded with his side of the story.
Subsequent reports — though we see it as an unfair stretch — have compared Bennett to a certain Philadelphia Eagles (at last report) quarterback, whose name and dogfighting conviction we won’t mention, given he has ”reformed” and “paid his debt to society.”
The kennel, through a boxer rescue organization, has found Koa a new home. He has been renamed Quigley, and is said to be thriving with his new owner, described in one report as an out-of work puka shell salesman.
That may not be the life of luxury the dog could have had with a professional football player.
But, honestly — and here comes my unfair but heartfelt generalization – if I were a dog, and had the choice of living with an NFL player or an out-of-work puka shell salesman, I’d pick the out-of-work puka shell salesman any day.
(Top photo: TMZ)
Posted by John Woestendiek January 13th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandon, abandoned, abandonment, adopted, animals, boarding, boxer, football, kennel, koa, lawsuit, lucky dog, michael bennett, nfl, pets, puka shell, rescue, salesman, seattle seahawks, tampa bay bucaneers
Eight of the 27 pit bulls seized from a Wisconsin breeding kennel suspected of having connections to dogfighting belonged to a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.
It’s not Michael Vick.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Bryce Brown is the owner of Eilis, and her seven puppies, all of whom were removed May 21 from a pit bull breeding kennel near Eau Claire, according to the Leader-Telegram.
Brown had sent Eilis to Northland Pits in February to be bred. After the pups were born, the kennel offered to whelp and wean the pups, and Brown sent them all to Wisconsin for that purpose, according to an affadivit in the case.
While they were there, the kennel was searched, and 27 dogs were seized by the Eau Claire County Humane Association. The owner of the kennel, Joseph A. Sudbrink, has been charged with mistreating animals and running a breeding kennel without a license.
The officer who removed the animals, BeKah Weitz, said the dogs at the kennel had contracted ringworm and possibly had other skin issues and were being kept in substandard conditions. She told the court she saw scarring on the dogs and believed the kennel operators were fighting the dogs. Prosecutors say they are continuing to investigate.
Both Brown and the kennel owner petitioned to get their dogs back, and on Friday a county judge ordered Eilis and her pups returned to Brown.
The 19 other dogs will remain in custody for at least five more days, under the judge’s ruling.
The kennel’s website says it is a breeder of “quality old family red nose pit bulls” and that no dogs are “bred, sold or used for any illegal activities.”
Brown, the running back, has no known connection to dogfighting. The Philadelphia Inquirer says he has friends who are pit bull breeders, and friends whose dogs engage in ”extreme” agility training. He posted the video above, showing him and another pit bull, on his Facebook page, but said “I go to the park with them to be supportive … It’s not really my thing.”
Sheila Kessler, an attorney who represented Brown and also serves on the Humane Society of Portage County board, picked up his dog and puppies from the shelter to return them to Brown.
Posted by John Woestendiek July 1st, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bred, breeder, bryce brown, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogs, eau claire, eau claire county humane association, eilis, football, investigation, kennel, nfl, northland pits, pets, philadelphia eagles, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, puppies, running back, substandard conditions, unlicensed, weaned, whelped, wisconsin
It’s a done deal: Dogs Deserve Better, a nonprofit group that fights chaining, penning and other forms of cruelty to dogs, has closed on Michael Vick’s old house — the former headquarters of the quarterback’s dogfighting operation, Bad Newz Kennels.
Dogs Deserve Better plans to turn the property in Surry County, Virginia, into a center to rehabilitate and resocialize dogs that have been mistreated and abused, with the hope of finding them adoptive homes.
The name of the facility will be: The Good Newz Rehab Center for Chained and Penned Dogs.
The potential deal, which we told you about in February, became a reality in May, when Dogs Deserve Better raised enough money for the down payment and secured a bank loan to purchase the 4,600-square-foot white brick house and surrounding 15 acres.
The group paid $176,507 as the down payment for the house, liisted at $595,000, and is still raising money to pay for the rest and make improvements.
Once complete, it will be a $2.5 million facility, founder Tamira Thayne said told the Virginian-Pilot.
“Purchasing this property and in effect giving it back to the victims of the abuse that occurred here is a very powerful step for animal advocates and our country’s dogs alike,” said Thayne. “We are sending a message to those who want to abuse and fight dogs that a new day is dawning in America, a day where dogs are treated with the love and respect they deserve as companions to humans.”
The Washington Post had a report on the property’s transition from a place of nightmares to a place of hope earlier this month.
Dogs Deserve Better, which will move from its Pennsylvania base to Virginia, has never had a facility of its own, but it says it has rescued and rehomed more than 3,000 dogs during its existence.
Dogs Deserve Better says having the facililty in a house will help in socializing the dogs it takes in. The group hopes to rescue and rehabilitate 500 dogs a year.
Thayne said that, in addition to welcoming visitors, Dogs Deserve Better will also build a memorial on the property for the dogs who died and suffered there, according to Dogster.com.
For more information on the purchase, the plans and how you can donate, visit the website of Dogs Deserve Better.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 1st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abused, adopt, adoption, animals, bad newz kennels, bought, buys, center, chained, dogfighting, dogs, dogs deserve better, dogster, football, former, good newz rehab center, home, house, michael vick, mistreated, moonlight road, nfl, operation, penned, pets, philadelphia eagles, pit bulls, property, purchase, rehab, rehabilitation, rescue, ring, surry county, tamira thayne, virginia
Michael Vick’s first post-prison endorsement contract — with a company called Unequal Technologies — appears to already be paying dividends, both for the quarterback and the company.
Vick, in exchange for a piece of the company, is now shilling for Unequal, which makes protective padding for athletes, designed to help prevent injuries among those who take part in contact sports — dogfighting, of course, not included.
For Vick, who once raked in $7 million a year in endorsements, the contract puts him back on the lucrative path of touting products for pay — and, though it’s not quite on level of Nike and Coke, it’s another step, as he sees it, to redeeming his image, left tarnished by a dogfighting scandal and prison term. He also reveals, in this interview, that he has a “V 7″ shoe and clothing line in the works.
For Unequal Technologies, teaming up with the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback meant an immediate burst of publicity and a huge surge in sales. Chief Executive Rob Vito said within a day of Vick’s signing, there were 10 million hits on Unequal Technologies website. ”The sales went up 1,000% when Mike came on board,” he said, adding that they are still about triple what they were a year ago.
The company declined to disclose the terms of the agreement, but both Vito and Vick, in this interview with the Wall Street Journal, say the quarterback was given a share in the company, as opposed to a flat fee.
In the wide-ranging interview, Vick seems to contradict himself several times. He says he doesn’t read newspaper accounts about himself, then says he reads them before games because their negativity motivates him. He says he’s not a Christian, but that his connection with God is ”uncanny”.
He says he wouldn’t change anything about his life, except maybe shortening his prison sentence, from 18 months to five months. His dogfighting conviction and imprisonment, he says, led to an opportunity to read, and work on improving himself.
“Because I handled it so well, I think that’s why the Lord is continuing to bless me,” he says.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 18th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal welfare, animals, clothing line, dog fighting, dogfighting, dogs, football, hsus, interview, kevlar, michael vick, nfl, padding, pets, philadelphia eagles, protection, redemption, rob vito, shoes, unequal, unequal technologies, vick