West Ham United defender Kurt Zouma appeared at Thames Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to kicking and slapping his pet cat
Kurt Zouma has been sentenced to 180 hours of unpaid community work, ordered to pay costs of £8,887 and banned from owning cats for five years after pleading guilty to kicking and slapping his pet.
Dressed in a black suit and white shirt, the 27-year-old West Ham United centre back was greeted by a man in a cat outfit as he arrived at Thames Magistrates Court to hear the verdict from District Judge Susan Holdham, who described the incident as “disgraceful and reprehensible.”
His brother Yoan Zouma has been sentenced to 140 hours after facing a charge of “aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring Kurt Zouma to commit the offence.” He also pleaded guilty last week having filmed the cats being abused.
Kurt Zouma arrives at Thames Magistrates’ Court for sentencing ( Image: AFP via Getty Images)
Judge Holdham took into consideration that both Zoumas had no prior offences and pleaded guilty at the earliest possible opportunity, in addition to Kurt Zouma being fined £250,000 by West Ham after the incident occurred in February.
Speaking directly to Kurt Zouma before announcing the sentence, she said: “You kicked and slapped either the same cat or both of them – that cat looked to you to care for its needs On that date in February, you didn’t provide for its needs but caused unnecessary suffering for your own amusement.”
Last week he pleaded guilty to two counts of causing “unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, by kicking and slapping a cat”, in contravention of section 4 subsection 1 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. A third charge of failing to “protect the animal from pain suffering injury or disease” in contravention of section 9 was withdrawn.
Both cats were brought under the care of RSPCA on February 12 and Zouma has since signed over ownership.
The West Ham defender pleaded guilty to animal welfare charges ( Image: AFP via Getty Images)
The court was told that a woman who had been messaging Yoan Zouma about arranging a date raised concern after seeing a video that was uploaded to Snapchat. The woman was so appalled by the footage that she then cancelled the date.
Prosecutor Hazel Stevens told the court that Kurt could be heard saying: “I swear I’ll kill it, I swear I’ll kill it.” Ms Stevens also said that there has been a “spate of people hitting cats and posting it on various social media sites” since the Zouma incident.
In a statement, a West Ham club spokesman said: “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.https://get-latest.convrse.media/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mirror.co.uk%2Fsport%2Ffootball%2Fbreaking-kurt-zouma-avoids-jail-27114489&cre=center&cip=16&view=web
“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.”
After the video surfaced Kurt Zouma was fined two weeks’ wages – the maximum permitted – by West Ham, who donated the sum of £250,000 to nine different charities.
He also lost a sponsorship deal with adidas while the club’s partners Kissimmee and Vitality pulled their deals after Zouma continued to play under manager David Moyes. The defender’s legal team have argued that he is no longer being considered for selection by France owing to the incident.
Zouma said he was “deeply sorry” when the footage was circulated in February. “I want to apologise for my actions. There are no excuses for my behaviour, which I sincerely regret. I also want to say how deeply sorry I am to anyone who was upset by the video. I would like to assure everyone that our two cats are perfectly fine and healthy.”
Yoan Zouma has not played for his club Dagenham and Redbridge since late January but the National League club announced this morning that his contract has been extended. He was initially suspended by the fifth-tier side before being allowed to return to training after the police investigation closed on March 16.