Disgraced Premier League footballer Kurt Zouma has been ordered to carry out 180 hours of community service and banned from keeping cats for five years for kicking and slapping his Bengal pet in a disturbing home video posted on Snapchat.
The £125,000-a-week defender, 27, looked shamefaced as he was told his punishment at Thames Magistrates Court in east London this morning.
West Ham defender Zouma was pilloried after footage emerged of him volleying the pet across his kitchen, before throwing a pair of shoes at it and slapping its head, saying: ‘I swear I’ll kill it.’
The Snapchat clip, from February this year, featured laughing and disgusted animal lovers and football fans and was filmed by brother Yoan.
Father-of-four Zouma pleaded guilty at Thames Magistrates Court in east London last week to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a cat, after blaming the family pet for damaging a chair.
His two Bengal male cats – which can cost up to £1,500 each – have since been signed over to be rehomed by the RSPCA.
District Judge Susan Holdham said: ‘Both of you took part in this disgraceful and reprehensible act with this pet cat.
‘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.’
Zouma was handed 180 hours’ community service and told to pay court costs of nearly £9,000 and banned from keeping or caring for cats for five years. Yoan was ordered to carry out 140 hours’ community service.
Zouma was sentenced for kicking his cat after being prosecuted by the RSPCA under the Animal Welfare Act
West Ham defender Kurt Zouma outside Thames Magistrates’ Court, London, today where he was banned from keeping cats for five years and ordered to do 180 hours community service
Kurt Zouma was forced to apologise after a video of him kicking his cat went viral in February
Earlier prosecutor Hazel Stevens stood for around a minute to address the court, and did not go over the details of the case set out last week.
Trevor Burke QC, for Kurt Zouma, said the cats were described by a vet as well cared for.
He said Zouma ‘did not consent’ for the film, captured by his brother Yoan and uploaded to Snapchat, to be made.
The court heard Yoan had 80 followers on Snapchat, and only five accounts viewed it before it was deleted a few minutes after being posted.
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.”
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.”
Kurt Zouma at Thames Magistrates Court last week where he admitted both of the offences
Yoan Zouma at court to appear over claims filming a cat being kicked by brother Kurt Zouma
Judge agreed to ban reporting of Zouma’s address after abuse
Footballer Kurt Zouma’s address will be withheld from the public domain after a judge heard about the ‘grotesque’ abuse he received since a video of him kicking his cat went viral.
Trevor Burke QC, for West Ham defender Zouma, said his client received abuse that was ‘the worst’ the football players’ union had seen.
He said police were looking to prosecute those responsible, but said the strength of the abuse gave rise to concerns about Zouma’s safety, despite stringent security measures already being in place at his home.
Content of the messages was not read out at Thames Magistrates’ Court in East London, although a redacted copy was shown to the district judge, Susan Holdham.
She imposed an order under Section 11 of the Contempt of Court Act, banning publication of the Zoumas’ addresses, in full or in part.
She said: ‘I can see a number of messages – vile, racial abuse.
‘There are threats to kill. They refer to him and his children. The bar (on media reporting) is a high one, but I think it has been reached.
‘I quite understand the necessity for open justice and for the press to report freely but in these circumstances I am prepared for the address of both defendants to be withheld.’
Chris Burghes, CEO of Blue Cross pet charity said “This court case has been a positive move in addressing animal cruelty. Now that the sentence of a five year ban and community service has been given there is an opportunity for a step change as to how animals are treated in the home, and an end to them being used as props, or exploited, for social media engagement.
“People in positions of influence like the Zouma brothers must never underestimate the power they hold in causing others to follow and copy their behaviours, bad and good.
“It was distressing to witness the cruelty in the video and the laughter that ensued when causing an animal pain. It is of real concern to Blue Cross that social media channels are often where individuals look for a guide as to how to treat animals. Pets deserve as much respect as any member of the family.
“It is always distressing to know when children have been direct witnesses to animal cruelty, and we must also remember the indirect impact on the millions of young people who witness other acts of cruelty which are published on social media. Hopefully the prominence of this case can lead to a step change in how social media channels monitor disturbing content more effectively, and how influencers use their platforms to promote positive animal welfare messages.”
The court had heard last week the ‘premeditated’ attack was filmed by his younger brother, lower-league footballer Yoan Zouma, 24, who sent it to a woman he was due to go on a date with.
But the woman was so shocked that she called off their meeting, telling him: ‘I don’t think hitting a cat like that is OK – don’t bother coming today.
‘I do not want to associate with people who find that funny, in front of a child as well.
‘You should be careful of that stuff, especially with your family being who they are.’
Footage showed Kurt Zouma filming the cat sitting on a chair and approaching it with a slipper before running at the cat.
While carrying the cat at waist height Zouma ‘drops the cat, kicks it in the stomach with his left foot and another cat can be seen running away,’ said RSPCA proscutor Hazel Stevens.
Kurt could be heard laughing in the background while Yoan posted the video with laughing emojis.
Kurt was heard saying ‘I’ll hit it’, ‘you want a fight’ and ‘where is it. Where is it?’ and ‘I’ll kill it – I swear – I’ll kill it.’
The prosecutor added: ‘The cat was brought into the kitchen where it was then kicked. The chasing and the throwing starts.
‘He already has a state of mind that he will do further harm to the cat.’
Yoan admitted one count of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring his older brother to commit an offence.
The pair were released on bail ahead of their sentencing.
The court heard Hammers defender Zouma had been subject to racist abuse and threats, lost a ‘substantial’ sponsorship deal with Adidas, was fined £250,000 and had no longer been picked for the France national team since the furore over the footage emerged.
But his legal team’s claims in court that seven people are to be prosecuted for abusing Zouma were later dismissed by police.
Kurt Zouma’s cats are now happy and healthy as RSPCA prepare to re-home them after West Ham star pleaded guilty to animal cruelty over cat-kicking video
Kurt Zouma’s cats have been pictured happy and healthy as the RSPCA prepare to re-home them following the disgraced footballer admitting to animal cruelty charges.
Newly released images show his former Bengal cats, Bonbon and Cherie, playfully roaming around their temporary homes while the animal rights charity begins the processing of transferring them to new owners.
In the 20-second clip, the adorable cat meows softly and can be seen playing with toys as it scampers around – just months after a harrowing Snapchat video showed the moment it was savagely kicked by the French footballer.
Pictured: Zouma’s two Bengal cats are due to be rehomed by the RSPCA later this year
The Premier League star admitted kicking and slapping his pet cat in a viral video which sparked a series of similar animal cruelty attacks, the court heard.
The shocking incident came to light after a woman who had been due to go on a date with Kurt’s brother Yoan saw the footage on his Snapchat, prompting her to raise the alarm and cancel her date.
The woman, who was not named, told Yoan Zouma she ‘did not want to associate’ with anyone who found his brother’s actions funny.
Newly released images show his former Bengal cats, Bonbon and Cherie, playfully roaming around their temporary homes while the animal rights charity begins the processing of transferring them to new owners
The West Ham United defender pleaded guilty to two counts under the Animal Welfare Act when he appeared at Thames Magistrates’ Court in east London.
Zouma, 27, was forced to apologise after harrowing footage was filmed and shared by his younger brother Yoan, 24, who also admitted one offence during the hearing.
Prosecutors also told the court that the footage sparked a spate of copycat attacks which were filmed and shared online, sparking outrage from campaigners.
The court was told about disturbing footage of the incident, filmed at Zouma’s home and posted on Snapchat by his brother on February 6.
It was later seen by a woman who had been messaging Yoan, who raised the alarm.
Zouma 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 Kurt Zouma could be heard saying: ‘I swear I’ll kill it, I swear I’ll kill it.’