The West Ham defender Kurt Zouma and his brother Yoan are being prosecuted by the RSPCA under the Animal Welfare Act, the charity has said.
Kurt Zouma was seen kicking and slapping one of his cats in footage which surfaced on social media in February, with the RSPCA taking the 27-year-old’s two pet cats into care the same month. Yoan Zouma’s club, Dagenham & Redbridge, suspended him last month after saying he had been responsible for filming the incident, and said in a club statement issued earlier on Wednesday afternoon that he had been charged.
The RSPCA released its own statement later, which read: “Following a full and thorough investigation, we have started the process of bringing a prosecution against Kurt Zouma and Yoan Zouma under the Animal Welfare Act. The two cats continue to be cared for by the RSPCA. We will be in a position to release more information once a court date is confirmed.”
West Ham fined their player the maximum amount possible when the incident came to light, but manager David Moyes has continued to pick Zouma when fit. The RSPCA described the video as “very upsetting” last month and a Change.org petition was set up calling for Zouma to be prosecuted.
The club have been co-operating with the RSPCA’s investigation, and said in a statement on Wednesday: “West Ham United is aware of the RSPCA statement in relation to its investigation involving Kurt Zouma. Kurt continues to co-operate fully, supported by the club. It is our understanding that Kurt’s cats have been checked by a vet, are in good health and have suffered no physical injuries. For legal reasons, neither Kurt or the club will be making any further comment at this time.”
National League club Dagenham said Yoan Zouma would now be considered for selection, stating that any further suspension would be “detrimental” to the player and the club, adding that they reserved the right to take further action if deemed necessary after the conclusion of the court proceedings.