West Ham defender Zouma to be prosecuted for animal abuse

LONDON (AP) — West Ham defender Kurt Zouma is being prosecuted by an animal charity for kicking and slapping his cat in abuse caught on video.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals took Zouma’s two pet cats into care after footage of the abuse surfaced on social media last month.

“Following a full and thorough investigation, we have started the process of bringing a prosecution against Kurt Zouma and (his brother) Yoan Zouma under the Animal Welfare Act,” the RSPCA said.

“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.”

UK law allows organizations such as the RSPCA to use specialist lawyers to bring private prosecutions against individuals, with such cases heard in court and sometimes taken over by public prosecutors.

The charity, which does not have the power to charge people, said it will be “serving a summons on those involved” once court details are finalized.

West Ham fined Zouma two weeks’ salary — the maximum amount possible — when the incident came to light, but manager David Moyes has continued to pick the defender when fit.

Fans have jeered Zouma during games.

“West Ham United is aware of the RSPCA statement in relation to its investigation involving Kurt Zouma,” the London club said.

“Kurt continues to cooperate 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.”

Yoan Zouma was suspended last month by fifth-tier team Dagenham, which said he had been responsible for filming the incident.

The National League club said the player would now be considered for selection, stating that any further suspension would be “detrimental” to the player and the club.

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