Police have opened inquiries into a video that shows West Ham’s Kurt Zouma kicking and slapping a cat. They are planning a joint investigation with the RSPCA, which has described the footage as “very upsetting”.
Zouma has apologised after the disturbing video surfaced online, with West Ham also condemning the footage and vowing to deal with the matter internally.
In the video, Zouma is seen dropping, kicking and slapping the cat, while laughter can be heard in the background. The 27-year-old then chases the animal before throwing a pair of shoes at it and slapping its head.
Surrey police told the Evening Standard: “Inquiries are under way after we received an allegation earlier today (February 8), in relation to an animal being abused at an address in north Surrey.
“The allegations were received after a video emerged over the weekend showing a cat being ill-treated. We are currently liaising with the RSPCA with a view to carrying out a joint investigation into the matter. Inquiries remain ongoing and we will provide further updates in due course.”
A spokesperson for the RSPCA had earlier said: “This is a very upsetting video. It’s never acceptable to kick, hit or slap an animal, for punishment or otherwise. We are so grateful to people who report suspected animal suffering to us and we would like to reassure people we will always look into and, if necessary, investigate any complaints made to us about animal welfare.”
West Ham have condemned Zouma’s actions to the Sun in a strongly worded statement after it published the clip.
“West Ham United unreservedly condemns the actions of our player, Kurt Zouma, in the video that has circulated,” the club said. “We have spoken to Kurt and will be dealing with the matter internally, but we would like to make it clear that we in no way condone cruelty towards animals.”
Zouma told the Sun: “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.”
The video was filmed by Zouma’s brother, Yoan Zouma, who plays for Dagenham and Redbridge. Yoan Zouma said: “I deeply regret my involvement in the video that has been widely circulated and unreservedly apologise, not only for my actions, but for the upset and distress this will have caused to so many people.
“I am now taking time to reflect on what I have done but wish to assure everyone that this was an isolated incident and not something that I am proud of.”
The National League club condemned the incident and said they were taking it very seriously.