27 Jun 2022 | 08:10 | Football
Kurt Zuma was sentenced to 180 hours of community service after admitting to kicking and slapping a cat.
The West Ham defender was given a 12-month community order and banned from keeping cats for five years. He was told to pay court costs of almost £9,000.
Disturbing footage of the incident, filmed at Zuma’s home and posted on Snapchat by his brother Yoan, emerged in February.
Zuma, 27, pleaded guilty at Thames Magistrates Court last week to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal: kicking it in the abdomen and slapping it on the head.
In the footage, he kicks the Bengal cat across the kitchen before throwing a pair of shoes at it and slapping it on the head.
His 24-year-old brother later sent the video to a woman he had been messaging, who sounded the alarm. He was ordered to perform 140 hours of community service.
The prosecution’s Hazel Stevens said Kurt Zuma can be heard in the video saying: “I swear I’ll kill it, I swear I’ll kill it.”
Ms Stevens said the 40-second video appeared to have been recorded after the cat was accused of damaging the chair.
“Kurt Zuma is determined to punish or some kind of revenge for the damage done,” she said.
Ms Stevens added that the young woman who saw the video for the first time was so shocked that she cancelled her date with Yoan, saying: “I don’t think it’s OK to hit the cat like that – don’t bother today. already.”
Following the verdict, a statement from West Ham read: “West Ham can confirm that following an investigation by the RSPCA, Kurt Zuma has received a community service order.
“West Ham United would like to make it clear that we condemn in the strongest terms any form of animal cruelty or cruelty. Such behaviour is unacceptable and incompatible with the football club’s values.
“Within 48 hours of the video, we imposed the highest fine available to the club against Kurt.
“Every penny of this money is now being donated to many deserving charities, all dedicated to animal welfare.
“Kurt was the first to admit that what he did was wrong and he has apologised unreservedly.
“We hope that now that the court has decided, everyone will give Kurt the opportunity to learn from his mistakes and move on.”
“We hope this case serves as a reminder that all animals deserve to be treated with kindness, compassion and respect, and we will not tolerate cruelty from anyone,” RSPCA chief inspector Dermot Murphy said in a statement.