West Ham defender Kurt Zouma is being sued by an animal charity for kicking and slapping his cat in filmed abuse.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has taken Zouma’s two pet cats into care after images of the abuse surfaced on social media last month.
“After a full and thorough investigation, we have begun the process of bringing proceedings against Kurt Zouma and (his brother) Yoan Zouma under the Animal Welfare Act,” the RSPCA said.
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“Both cats continue to be in the care of the RSPCA. We will be able 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 these cases being heard in court and sometimes handled by prosecutors.
The charity, which does not have the power to charge people, said it will “serve a summons to those involved” once court details are finalized.
West Ham fined Zouma two weeks’ wages – the maximum amount possible – when the incident came to light, but manager David Moyes continued to pick the defender when fit.
Fans made fun of Zouma during matches.
“West Ham United are aware of the RSPCA’s statement regarding their investigation involving Kurt Zouma,” the London club said.
“Kurt continues to cooperate fully, supported by the club. We know that Kurt’s cats have been checked by a veterinarian, are in good health and have no physical injuries. For legal reasons, neither Kurt nor the club will comment further at this time.”
Yoan Zouma was suspended last month by Fifth Division side Dagenham, who said he was responsible for filming the incident.
The National League club said the player would now be considered for selection, saying any further suspension would be “detrimental” to the player and the club.
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