Animal charity remove Kurt Zouma's cats as West Ham fine player 'maximum amount possible'

Backlash against footballer grows as online petition calling for him to be prosecuted grows

West Ham have fined Kurt Zouma after footage of him abusing his pet cats emerged on social media. PA
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Animal charity the RSPCA have taken away two of West Ham footballer Kurt Zouma's cats after footage emerged on social media of him abusing the pets.

The Premier League club have also fined the French defender "the maximum amount possible" – reported to be in the region of £250,000 ($339,000) – and the fee will be donated to animal welfare charities.

More than 160,000 people have signed an online petition on Change.org, started by Anti Animal Abuse, calling for Zouma to be prosecuted amid a growing public backlash.

The RSPCA confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that the cats were now in its care.

West Ham said in a statement: “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.”

The RSPCA said it had been dealing with the issue before the video went viral and would continue its investigations.

“The two cats are now in RSPCA care,” a RSPCA spokesperson said. “Our priority is and has always been the well-being 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.”

Updated: February 09, 2022, 3:38 PM
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