Premier League star learns punishment after animal abuse scandal
West Ham defender Kurt Zouma, 27, has been ordered to complete 180 hours of community service by a UK court after he pleaded guilty to kicking and slapping his pet cat in a case which appalled fans and animal rights charities alike.
The former Chelsea player admitted two offences related to the UK's Animal Welfare Act in a hearing at the Thames Magistrates' Court last month after a video was shared online by his brother Yoan, who plays for a lower league English club, showing the footballer abusing the defenseless animal. Yoan Zouma, 24, was also ordered to undergo 140 hours of community service following an investigation which was led by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).
The offending video was posted to the social media platform Snapchat in February. The footage shows Kurt Zouma kicking the Bengal cat in his kitchen, with the player heard saying: "I swear I'll kill it”.
The abuse was understood to be retaliation for damage that the cat had done to a chair in Zouma's property.
Yoan Zouma's online video also displayed a string of 'laughing emojis' making light of the abuse.
“Both of you took part in this disgraceful and reprehensible act with this pet cat,” district judge Susan Holdham said at Wednesday's hearing.
“The cat looked up to you to care for its needs. On that date in February you did not provide for its needs. You must be aware that others look up to you and many young people aspire to emulate you.”
After the sentencing, West Ham released a statement in which they said that the "condemn in the strongest terms” animal abuse or cruelty.
“This type of behavior is unacceptable and is not in line with the values of the football club. Within 48 hours of the footage emerging, we fined Kurt the maximum available to the club," the statement reads.
“Every single penny of this money is now with a number of deserving charities, all dedicated to animal welfare. Kurt admitted at the earliest opportunity that what he did was wrong. He has apologized without reservation.
“We hope that now the court has reached its decision, everyone will allow Kurt the chance to learn from his mistake and move on.”