Earlier this week, a video of Kurt Zouma, West Ham centre-back, abusing his two Bengal cats went viral, shocking people all around the globe. The cats have since been taken away from the player and handed to the RSPCA in London.
The video first shows the player dropping one of his cats and kicking it, before proceeding to chase the cats with an unidentified object, terrorizing them. A little later in the clip, Zouma and others present in the room are seen slapping the pets.
The video was filmed by Zouma’s brother, Yoan Zouma, also a football player, who then uploaded it on Snapchat.
Where are the cats now?
Zouma handed his two Bengal cats to the RSPCA for health checks and assessment. According to sources, the RSPCA was made aware of the situation and took the cats in their care before the clip went viral. They have been conducting a thorough investigation on the abuse.
Overwhelmed with worried callers asking for updates on the situation, the RSPCA is asking people to contact the national cruelty line only if people have fresh information on the case. They can be contacted at 0300 1234 999.
Typically, when the RSPCA receives a pet, either abandoned or abused, they proceed with a thorough health assessment, nurse them back to health before eventually putting them up for adoption.
What kinds of charges does Kurt Zouma face?
Zouma has already been fined £250,000 by West Ham, his club, although they have refused to suspend the player. He is set to play in Sunday’s match against Leicester. Meanwhile, his brother has been suspended from his club.
Since the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill received Royal Assent in 2021, it allows for tougher penalties for animal cruelty. Since the summer of 2021, the maximum prison sentence has been extended to five years, bumped up from the previous maximum sentence of six months.
The government’s website reads:
The new maximum penalty will enable courts to take a firmer approach to cases such as dog fighting, abuse of puppies and kittens, illegally cropping a dog’s ears and gross neglect of farm animals.
Furthermore, offenders can now also receive an ‘unlimited fine.’ The new sentences are some of the toughest in Europe. The new measures are widely supported by animal welfare groups such as the RSPCA as well as citizens, as marked by a public consultation in 2017 with over 9,000 responses.
The West Ham player could also be facing charges in France, his home country—French citizens can be prosecuted at home for crimes committed abroad. An animal rights group in Paris has already lodged a complaint against him.