Kurt Zouma's brother suspended by football team over cat kicking video
Kurt Zouma’s brother is suspended by his football team for filming cat-kicking video as pressure mounts on West Ham to follow suit and dump £29m star from their squad
- Kurt Zouma’s brother suspended by his football team over cat-kicking video
- Zouma is being investigated after his cats were taken into the care of the RSPCA
- West Ham footballer has been widely condemned following viral video
- There are growing calls for Zouma to be prosecuted amid public backlash
Kurt Zouma’s brother has been suspended by his own football team for filming the disgraced star’s cat-kicking video as pressure mounts on West Ham to dump the £29million star from their squad.
In a statement about its player Yoan Zouma, Dagenham and Redbridge FC said today: ‘Yoan was this week contacted by the RSPCA to assist in their investigation and is fully cooperating with them.
‘However, Dagenham & Redbridge FC would again like to reiterate that it condemns any form of cruelty towards animals and fully understands the reaction of many of its supporters.
‘The Club has therefore decided that until the RSPCA has completed its investigations, Yoan will not play for Dagenham & Redbridge in any competitive match. Any further action deemed necessary to be taken will be made at the conclusion of the RSPCA investigation.’
Zouma’s cats were seized as sponsors ditched West Ham following outrage over his sickening attack.
The 27-year-old has also been fined £250,000 — two weeks’ wages — by the club’s bosses in a dramatic U-turn after their decision to play him on Tuesday evening. But West Ham have refused to suspend Zouma, despite the anger towards the French international.
The defender had uploaded footage to Snapchat showing him dropkicking his Bengal cat and slapping it out of his son’s arms just 48 hours before the game — where he was booed by his own fans.
West Ham were roundly condemned for starting him against Watford but yesterday reversed their position after key sponsors sought to distance themselves from the club and player.
It also emerged Zouma could be jailed for up to four years in his native France under beefed-up animal welfare laws introduced last year. The RSPCA confirmed it had taken his two cats for a check-up at the vets ‘and they will remain in our care while the investigation continues’.
More than 280,000 people have now signed an online petition on Change.org, started by Anti Animal Abuse, calling for Zouma to be prosecuted amid a growing public backlash.
Brigitte Bardot called for Zouma to be dropped from the French national team and has contacted the country’s prosecutors demanding they take action.
Kurt Zouma’s brother has been suspended by his own football team for filming the disgraced star’s cat-kicking video as pressure mounts on West Ham to dump the star
Kurt Zouma is being investigated by the RSPCA after his two cats were taken into the care of the charity, with the defender having been fined ‘the maximum amount possible’ by West Ham following the alleged mistreatment of his pet
Zouma, who played against Watford in the Premier League on Tuesday night, has been widely condemned after a video emerged of him allegedly dropping, kicking and slapping the animal
West Ham United’s Zouma was booed every time he touched the ball last night after video
Investigations into animal welfare incidents are generally led by the RSPCA.
The charity has a long established expertise in both the investigation and prosecution of cases involving animal welfare and has built up a useful body of precedent and case law over the years.
However they can call in police and local council officials to help with their investigations.
County Council Trading Standards, for instance, may investigate instances involving farmed animals.
Cases put forward to the courts by the RSPCA are done so as private prosecutions – which mean they are not put forward by the CPS.
They are brought under the Animal Welfare Act. Last year the maximum prison sentence for animal cruelty was raised from six months to five years.
Last year it was reported that the RSPCA could end the practice of private prosecution and turn over its files to the Crown Prosecution Service instead
The charity said the move would allow it to continue its ‘frontline work’.
The actress’ Paris-based charity, the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, has filed a legal complaint via French lawyers in a Paris court where Zouma could face up to four years in jail, MailOnline has learned.
Speaking today, Miss Bardot said: ‘The images deeply scandalized me, this big guy who attacks a small cat, kicks the animal like a ball, under the laughter of the person who is filming, all of this is shocking and of absolute cowardice.’
However, West Ham forward Michail Antonio has questioned whether Zouma’s mistreatment of his cat is ‘worse than racism’.
When asked about the incident during an interview with Sky Sports News, Hammers frontman Antonio said while he did not condone Zouma’s actions, he felt there was a wider debate to be considered.
‘I’ve got a question for you. Do you think what he’s done is worse than racism?’ Antonio said.
‘I’m not condoning a thing that he’s done, I don’t agree with what he has done at all. But there’s people that have been convicted and been caught for racism, and have played football afterwards.
‘They got an eight-game punishment or something like that, but people are now calling for people to be sacked, for them to lose their livelihood.
‘I’ve just got to ask this question to everyone out there: “is what he’s (Zouma) done worse than what the people have done that (were) convicted of racism?”.’
A club statement read: ‘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 cooperating 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.’
In a grovelling statement, the 27-year-old (pictured), who only joined the east London club from Chelsea in a £29.8million deal in the summer, said he was ‘deeply sorry’ over the incident and insisted his cats were ‘loved and cherished’
Bardot, 87, a committed animal rights activist, said she felt ‘scandalized’ when she saw videos of Zouma’s cruel abuse as the story made headlines in the UK and France
Zouma could be facing a jail sentence in France if a new legal filing is successful there
Disgraced French footballer Kurt Zouma’s apology in full
In a statement sent out to the media, Zouma said in a statement: ‘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 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,’ an RSPCA spokesperson said. ‘Our priority is and has always been the wellbeing 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.’
National pet charity Blue Cross described the incident as ‘truly horrifying’ and called for Zouma to face prosecution.
On Wednesday afternoon, Adidas — the defender’s official personal kit supplier — confirmed ties had been cut with Zouma.
Vitality confirmed it was suspending sponsorship as West Ham’s official wellness partner and would be ‘further engaging with the club to understand what actions they will be taking to address the situation’.
After the video emerged and Zouma played against Watford, West Ham’s official destination partner Experience Kissimmee said it would evaluate its relationship with the club.
On Wednesday, the tourist board for the Florida city announced it had decided to terminate the partnership.
President and chief executive of the tourist board DT Minich said: ‘Due to recent events, Experience Kissimmee has made the decision to part ways with West Ham United Football Club and end our sponsorship of the team.
‘As an organisation and community, we welcome visitors and locals alike to join us in celebrating wildlife and nature, now and always.
‘We are proud to work with partners who are accredited, certified and regulated to the highest standards of animal care.’
In France, animal rights group the 30 Million Friends Foundation condemned the ‘heinous act’ and called for Zouma to be suspended from the national team.
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