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Kurt Zouma

Zouma has his two cats taken away from him by RSPCA after West Ham defender filmed kicking & hitting animal

17:27 EAT 09/02/2022
Kurt Zouma West Ham 2021-22
The Hammers man, who has been fined the 'maximum amount' by his club, faced a significant backlash after disturbing footage emerged online

WARNING: This story contains images which people may find disturbing

The RSPCA have taken both of Kurt Zouma's cats into their care while investigations continue after the West Ham star was filmed kicking and hitting one of them in a video posted to social media.

The disturbing footage emerged on February 7, with a clip showing the Frenchman abusing his pet by kicking the animal across the kitchen floor, before hitting it while it tried to get away.

The Hammers centre-back issued an apology after the incident, although there has been an outpouring of condemnation aimed at the 27-year-old, with the RSPCA having now confirmed that the cats have been removed from his residence.

What has the RSPCA said?

An update posted on the RSPCA's official Twitter feed read: "We'd like to reassure people that we're investigating and the cats are safe and in our care.

"We have been dealing with this since before the clip went viral online and we need to follow the proper legal process and not discuss due to UK GDPR laws."

A spokesperson added to Sky Sports: "Our priority is and has always been the wellbeing of these cats.

"They've been taken for a check-up at a vets and then will remain in our care while the investigation continues.

"We're grateful to everyone who expressed their concern for these cats. We were dealing with this issue before the video went viral online and are leading the investigation.

"We continue to investigate so we cannot comment further at this time."

What happened & why is Zouma under investigation?

A video clip that lasts around 40 seconds shows France international defender Zouma firstly kicking his pet cat across the kitchen floor, before throwing what appears to be a trainer at the cat as it runs away from him.

He then proceeds to slap the cat in the presence of a child before the clip ends, with laughter heard in the background throughout the disturbing footage.

It was confirmed that Essex Police and the RSPCA were investigating the incident, with more than 150,000 people having signed a petition calling for Zouma to be prosecuted.

Zouma fined by West Ham

West Ham initially condemned the incident before releasing a further statement on February 9 to confirm that the player had been fined the "maximum amount".

A statement from the Premier League club began: "West Ham United can confirm that the club is supporting an RSPCA investigation into the actions of Kurt Zouma in the video circulated online this week.

"Kurt and the club are co-operating fully with the investigation and the player has willingly complied with the steps taken in the initial stage of the process, including delivering his family’s two cats to the RSPCA for assessment.

"Kurt is extremely remorseful and, like everyone at the club, fully understands the depth of feeling surrounding the incident and the need for action to be taken.

"Separate to the RSPCA's investigation and pending further sanction once the outcome of that process is determined, West Ham United can confirm that Kurt Zouma has been fined the maximum amount possible following his actions in the video that circulated. The player has immediately accepted the fine, which will be donated to animal welfare charities.

"West Ham United would like to reiterate our condemnation of Kurt’s actions and make it clear that the matter continues to be handled with the utmost seriousness. However, we believe it is now important to allow the RSPCA to conduct their investigation in a fair and thorough manner, and will be making no further comment at this stage."

Zouma was selected in the starting XI for the Hammers' 1-0 win over Watford on February 8, with manager David Moyes insisting that, despite being an "animal lover" he "had to pick a football team that gave me the best chance of winning the game."

What has Zouma said about it?

Zouma issued a statement apologising for what had happened, stating: "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.

"They are loved and cherished by our entire family, and this behaviour was an isolated incident that will not happen again."

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