Eight years after Michael Vick’s dogfighting ring made national headlines, yet another player for the Atlanta Falcons has been arrested on felony animal cruelty charges. Prince Shembo, who had garnered controversy before even joining the team, was arrested last week for killing his then-girlfriend’s dog. Shembo allegedly kicked the dog, a Yorkshire terrier, repeatedly until it died of blunt force trauma.
The Falcons have waived Shembo from the team, but perhaps he could serve as a future exercise in PR rehabilitation for the Humane Society of the United States. As some may recall, following his 21-month stint in federal prison, Michael Vick went on to become a poster boy for HSUS, with the organization more than happy to present Vick as a paragon of a good dog owner.
Dog fighting is obviously a horrible crime, and we have covered HSUS’s relationship with Vick extensively, as well as the financial and public relations benefits both parties received from their mutual partnership. But that’s probably why we won’t see an HSUS-Shembo partnership. Shembo was a fourth-round pick last year, whereas Vick was a megabucks quarterback. Without the potential of a windfall, it’s doubtful HSUS would be interested.