West Ham defender Kurt Zouma has said he is “very, very sorry” after kicking and slapping a cat in February, reflecting on the “difficult season for me and my family” in an interview with his club’s website.
He was later ordered to complete 180 hours of community service in June by Thames Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to the offence, PA Media reported at the time.
“Obviously I did very badly and I apologize for what I did again,” he said in an interview with West Ham. “I know it was very hard for people to see and see that and obviously I feel very sorry. I am very sorry for that.”
UK animal welfare body the RSPCA launched an investigation into the France international in February after a video of the incident filmed by his younger brother Yoan surfaced online showing him throwing shoes at his pet cat, slapping him in the face, from behind. around the room and kicking the floor in what appeared to be a private residence.
In the Thames Magistrates’ Court ruling, Zouma was also banned from owning a cat for five years and ordered to pay almost £9,000 ($11,214) in fines.
Yoan was ordered to complete 140 hours of community service after pleading guilty to an offense of aiding, abetting, advising or contracting his older brother to commit an offense under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
The RSPCA seized two of Zouma’s cats shortly after the incident and have been 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 a lot of people around me, they helped me focus on football and I try to be happy.”
West Ham fined the France international defender the maximum possible following his actions in the video and donated the money to animal welfare charities. l
“The club has been incredible with me, the support I’ve received from my teammates, staff and everyone at the club, and also from the fans, it’s been unreal,” Zouma said. “And they helped me stay focused on the game, to try to do my best on the pitch all the time and obviously I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done. This club is like my family.’