West Ham defender Kurt Zouma said he was ‘very, very sorry’ after kicking and slapping a cat in February as he reflected on a ‘difficult fate for me and my family in an interview with his club’s website.
He was later ordered to perform 180 hours of community service by Thames Magistrates Court in June, after pleading guilty to the offence, PA Media reported at the time.
“Obviously I did something very wrong and I still apologize for what I did,” he said in the interview with West Ham. “I know it was very difficult for people to watch and see this and obviously I’m very, very sorry. I feel great remorse for that.”
UK animal welfare organization RSPCA have launched an investigation into the France international player after video of the incident, filmed by his younger brother, Yoan, surfaced online in February showing him throwing shoes on his cat, slapping him in the face, chasing around the room and kicking him on the floor in what appeared to be a private residence.
During sentencing at Thames Magistrates’ Court, Zouma was also banned from owning a cat for five years and ordered to pay fines of nearly £9,000 ($11,214).
Yoan was ordered to perform 140 hours of community service after pleading guilty to one count of aiding, abetting, counseling or inciting his older brother to commit an offense under the animal protection.
The RSPCA seized two cats belonging to Zouma shortly after the incident and they have remained in their care since February.
“I learned from that, that’s the most important thing I would say,” added Zouma. “Obviously I had the support of many, many people around me who helped me stay focused on football and I try to stay happy.”
West Ham handed the France international defender a maximum fine following his actions in the video and donated the money to animal welfare charities. I
“The club have been amazing to me, the support I’ve received from my teammates, the staff and everyone at the club, even the fans, has been unreal,” Zouma said. “And they helped me stay focused on the game, trying to do my best on the pitch all the time and obviously I can’t thank them enough for what they did. This club is like my family.