French international defender Kurt Zouma was sentenced on Wednesday June 1 by British justice to 180 hours of community service for mistreating his cat. The 27-year-old West Ham player, who had pleaded guilty, was also banned by Thames Magistrates court in east London from owning a cat for five years. Judge Susan Holdham described his actions as “shameful and reprehensible”.
The viral video of him kicking and slapping his pet was filmed on February 6 and shared on Snapchat by his younger brother Yoan, 24, who is also a footballer.
During Kurt Zouma’s court appearance on May 24, prosecutor Hazel Stevens said the footage was taken after the cats damaged a chair. She had found that since their posting there had been “an upsurge in people hitting cats and posting the images on various social media.”
Fine of 300,000 euros
The player’s two cats have since been handed over to animal welfare society RSPCA, which had launched proceedings to have Kurt and Yoan Zouma prosecuted under animal welfare legislation.
The London club had not suspended their player and had even made him participate in a match the evening of the revelation of the case, causing a huge wave of protests. Finally, he was fined by his club nearly 300,000 euros, the highest possible and the sports equipment manufacturer Adidas had broken his sponsorship contract.
West Ham assured that, according to the information available to the club, the cats had “not suffered any physical injuries”. The club then revealed that the financial penalty imposed on the player had been donated to animal protection associations.