West Ham United defender Kurt Zouma has been ordered to carry out 180 hours of community service after he pleaded guilty to kicking and slapping his cat.
The 27-year-old has also been banned from keeping cats for five years.
He had admitted two offences under the Animal Welfare Act at a hearing at Thames Magistrates’ Court in May.
Zouma’s brother Yoan, who plays for Dagenham and Redbridge, was ordered to carry out 140 hours of community service at the 15-minute hearing.
The case was brought following an RSPCA investigation.
Yoan admitted one count of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring his older brother to commit an offence.
“Both of you took part in this disgraceful and reprehensible act with this pet cat,” said district judge Susan Holdham.
“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.”
Yoan, 24, filmed the incident at his older brother’s home and posted it on Snapchat with ‘laughing’ emojis on 6 February.
Kurt could be seen kicking the Bengal cat across his kitchen, before throwing a pair of shoes at it and slapping its head, while the video also showed him saying “I swear I’ll kill it”.
The court heard Yoan, whose contract with Dagenham and Redbridge has been extended, had 80 followers on Snapchat, and only five accounts viewed it before it was deleted a few minutes after being posted.
Kurt was also told to pay court costs of nearly £9,000 in addition to the 12-month community order.
“We are pleased there has been swift justice in this awful case and our focus now is matching these beautiful cats to the loving homes they deserve,” said RSPCA chief inspectorate officer Dermot Murphy.
“This case sends a really clear message that animals should never be treated like this, and posting videos of animals being harmed on social media for likes is abhorrent.
“We believe teaching children to treat animals with kindness will lead to a more compassionate society. We need positive role models to help us do that.”
West Ham hope Zouma can ‘learn from his mistake and move on’
The hearing in May had heard that West Ham had fined the player £250,000 and he had lost a “substantial” sponsorship deal with sportswear firm adidas.
“West Ham United wishes to make clear that we condemn in the strongest terms any form of animal abuse or cruelty,” said a statement from the Premier League club after the sentencing.
“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.”
The Hammers added: “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.”
Source: BBC Sports
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