est Ham’s Kurt Zouma is facing sentencing on Wednesday for kicking and slapping a cat for entertainment in videos which went viral online.
The 27-year-old centreback drop-kicked one of his Bengal cats across the kitchen floor of his £2 million home and slapped his pet in the head in front of his seven-year-old son.
The incidents were filmed by Zouma’s brother Yoan, 23, who could be heard laughing in the background as the footballer chased a cat and threatened to beat it with a shoe.
The Zouma brothers appeared at Thames magistrates court last week to admit animal abuse charges, and face sentencing on Wednesday.
Two cats were taken away from the West Ham star’s home when the incidents came to light in February, and the animals are now going to be permanently rehoused.
“The matter came to light when a young lady who had been chatting to Yoan Zouma for a couple of weeks was messaging him on February 6 to arrange a date that evening”, said RSCPA prosecutor Hazel Stevens.
“Video images uploaded to social media were sent on Snapchat.
“The lady was horrified at what was taking place, even more so as Yoan Zouma appeared to find the events funny.”
The court heard a series of videos had been posted on Snapchat by Yoan Zouma, showing his brother chasing a cat, throwing a shoe at it, and drop-kicking a cat across the kitchen floor.
It appeared the incidents were sparked by damage to the home which was blamed on one of the cats.
In the slap incident, Zouma’s young son is holding the cat up so that the football can strike it.
The woman who had been due to go on a date with Yoan Zouma cancelled the meeting, telling him she was “disgusted” by the “very cruel” animal abuse.
In response, Yoan Zouma told her: “We never had animals before, maybe that’s why we don’t know how to manage these cats.”
The court heard the cats had been medically assessed and were healthy, though a vet said they would have suffered soft tissue damage and trauma at the time of the attacks.
When the video spread online, Yoan Zouma was suspended by his non-league club, Dagenham & Redbridge, before returning to the squad in early March.
Kurt Zouma was fined two weeks’ wages – around £250,000 – by West Ham but did not face a suspension from Premier League action. He did, however, lose a string of lucrative sponsorship deals.
“He will never put it behind him”, said defence barrister Trevor Burke QC.
The court also heard Zouma has been subjected to online abuse, racism, and threats which are currently under investigation by Essex Police.
Kurt Zouma pleaded guilty to two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.
Yoan Zouma pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the causing of unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.
District Judge Susan Holdham is due to sentence both brothers later.