Kurt Zouma has been sentenced to 180 hours of community service after pleading guilty to kicking and slapping a cat.The West Ham defender was handed a 12-month community order and also banned from keeping cats for five years. He was told to pay nearly £9,000 in court costs.
Disturbing footage of the incident, filmed at Zouma’s home and posted on Snapchat by his brother, Yoan, emerged in February.
Zouma, 27, admitted two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal by kicking it in the abdomen and slapping it on the head at Thames Magistrates’ Court last week.
In the footage, he kicks the Bengal cat across his kitchen before throwing a pair of shoes at it and slapping its head.
His brother, 24, later sent the video to a woman he had been messaging who raised the alarm. He was ordered to carry out 140 hours of community service.
Hazel Stevens, for the prosecution, said Kurt Zouma could be heard in the video saying:
I swear I’ll kill it, I swear I’ll kill it.
Ms Stevens said the 40-second clip appeared to have been recorded after the cats were blamed for damaging a chair.
Kurt Zouma is determined to chastise or carry out some sort of retribution for the damage caused.
Ms Stevens added that the young woman who first saw the footage was so appalled that she cancelled a date with Yoan, saying:
I don’t think hitting a cat like that is OK – don’t bother coming today.
Following the verdict, a West Ham statement read:
West Ham United can confirm that Kurt Zouma has been handed a community service order following an investigation by the RSPCA.
West Ham United wishes to make clear that we condemn in the strongest terms any form of animal abuse or cruelty. This type of behaviour 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.
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 apologised 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.
In a statement, RSPCA chief inspectorate officer Dermot Murphy said:
We hope this case will serve as a reminder that all animals deserve to be treated with kindness, compassion and respect, and that we will not tolerate cruelty by anybody.