The cats of French soccer player Kurt Zouma have been taken away by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) after a video emerged showing him kicking and slapping his cat.
The viral video showed the player of the English football club West Ham United picking up the cat, dropping him, and kicking him as he lands. Zouma then chases the cat around the living room, throwing a pair of shoes at him and slaps him in the face.
Kurt’s brother Yoan Zouma, who plays for Dagenham & Redbridge Football Club, posted the video to Snapchat on Sunday afternoon. The brothers are heard laughing while the cat is kicked, slapped and chased.
“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,” the RSPCA said on Twitter.
We've had lots of messages regarding an upsetting video of a cat and would like to reassure people we're aware of it. We will always look into any complaints made about animal welfare but we can't comment on individual matters for legal reasons.— RSPCA (England & Wales) (@RSPCA_official) February 8, 2022
Thank you for understanding.
West Ham United said in a statement that they supported the RSPCA investigation. British media reported the club fined the 27-year-old Zouma with two weeks salary. The money will be donated to animal welfare charities.
On Tuesday, Kurt Zouma released an apology: “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.”
West Ham’s sponsor Vitality said it was suspending its sponsorship. “We were very distressed by the video we’ve seen of Kurt Zouma,” insurance company Vitality said on Twitter. “We condemn animal cruelty and violence of any kind.”
Adidas said in a statement: “We have concluded our investigation and can confirm Kurt Zouma is no longer an Adidas contracted athlete.” An online petition to prosecute Zouma and have his animals re-homed had been signed by more than 233,000 people.
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