'I swear I’ll kill it'
Earlier this year a Bengal cat was physically abused by a famous football player Kurt Zouma. The footballer's brother filmed the disturbing episode of animal cruelty and posted it online.
In 40-second footage, the distressed pet was seen chased by angry Zouma, kicked in the stomach, thrown a pair of shoes at and slapped in the head. The footballer could also be heard saying: 'I swear I'll kill it, I swear I'll kill it', with his brother's laughter in the background.
‘Disgraced, fined and sentenced to community service’
If not for the woman who saw the shocking video and was concerned about the cat's welfare, this crime could stay unpunished. Thanks to her raising the alarm, the case involving the high-profile footballer was prosecuted. According to Sky Sports, the player admitted two counts of ‘causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal by kicking it in the abdomen and slapping it on the head’.
In June 2022, Judge Susan Holdham sentenced Zouma to 180 hours of community service and banned him from owning cats for five years. He was told to pay nearly £9,000 in court costs. His brother was also ordered to carry out 140 hours of community service.
The judge said:
Both of you took part in this disgraceful and reprehensible act with this pet cat. The cat looked up to you to care for its needs. On that date, in February you did not provide for its needs. You must be aware that others look up to you and many young people aspire to emulate you.
Where is the Bengal cat now?
Two Bengal male cats, Bonbon and Cherie, have been removed from the footballer’s house and signed over to be rehomed by the RSPCA. The charity later released images showing the pets playfully roaming around their temporary accommodation while waiting for a new loving home.
What to do if you come across animal abuse online?
While it is easy to click on the ‘report’ button and get the unwanted content off your social media feed, it doesn't make the crime disappear. Reporting abuse is the best way to protect the animal.
Reporting incidents that took place in the past is trickier. According to the ASPCA, it is essential to gather evidence. Screenshot or screen-record the offensive content as it can be deleted at any time. Anything that may give clues about who made or posted the content online or when it occurred will help build a case and increase the chance of finding the culprit.
Armed with valuable evidence, contact your local police department or an animal welfare organisation.
The video depicting a Bengal cat being attacked by a footballer was deleted promptly. As the woman who saw the footage raised the alarm early and was able to provide valuable details, the abuser could be brought to justice.