By Emmanuel Adeleke
West Ham United defender, Kurt Zouma, has pleaded guilty to kicking and slapping his cat.
The 27-year-old admitted to two offences under the Animal Welfare Act during a hearing at Thames Magistrates’ Court, on Tuesday.
Zouma’s brother, Yoan, who plays for Dagenham and Redbridge, admitted to one offence after an investigation by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).
Yoan filmed his brother in February kicking and slapping a cat at his home, with Zouma saying, “I swear I’ll kill it.”
He posted the disturbing video on Snapchat with laughing emojis.
It was later seen by a woman who had been messaging Yoan, and she raised an alarm.
Zouma was seen in the video 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 that Zouma could be heard saying: “I swear I’ll kill it, I swear I’ll kill it.”
“Kurt Zouma is determined to chastise or carry out some sort of retribution for the damage caused.
“Since this footage was put in the public domain, there has been a spate of people hitting cats and posting it on various social media sites,” she added.
An independent vetrinary doctor who assessed the cat and watched the video, said there were “no remaining signs of injuries” to the animal when he examined it, adding that being hit and kicked would have caused suffering while being chased would have caused fear or distress.
Defending the West Ham player, Trevor Burke QC, said his client had been fined £250,000 by his club and lost a “substantial” sponsorship deal with sportswear firm, Adidas.
The brothers’ addresses were withheld following a court order, while the judge adjourned sentencing to 1 June.