West Ham's Kurt Zouma admits to kicking and slapping his cat
- Credit: PA
West Ham defender Kurt Zouma has admitted to kicking and slapping his pet cat.
Appearing at Thames Magistrates' Court this morning - May 24 - the 27-year-old defender pleaded guilty to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, an offence under the Animal Welfare Act.
Brother Yoan Zouma stood accused of aiding and abetting his brother, an offence he admitted during today's hearing.
The brothers were released on bail ahead of their sentencing at the same court next week.
The court was told about disturbing footage of the incident, filmed at Kurt's home and posted on Snapchat by his brother on February 6.
A woman who had been messaging 24-year-old Yoan saw the video and raised the alarm.
She was so appalled that she cancelled a date with the Dagenham and Redbridge player, saying: “I don’t think hitting a cat like that is OK – don’t bother coming today.”
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In the footage Kurt could be seen volleying the Bengal cat across his kitchen, before throwing a pair of shoes at it and slapping its head.
Prosecutor Hazel Stevens told the court the elder brother could be heard saying: “I swear I’ll kill it, I swear I’ll kill it.”
Ms Stevens said: “Since this footage was put in public domain there has been a spate of people hitting cats and posting it on various social media sites.
“Their behaviour falls short of what is expected of a high-profile image.”
Kurt has since agreed for his two cats - who have been cared for by the RSPCA since the incident - to be rehomed.
While not the charging body, the animal welfare charity detailed the allegations to a magistrates' court who then summonsed the brothers to appear today.
Its chief inspectorate officer Dermot Murphy said: “It’s never acceptable to treat an animal in this way and we were shocked when the video was first brought to our attention.
“What makes this case even more sad is the way the video was filmed and shared, making light of such cruelty.
“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.”