West Ham defender Kurt Zouma has said that he is “very, very sorry” after kicking and slapping a cat in February, as he reflected on a “difficult spell for me and my family” in an interview with his club website.
He was later ordered to complete 180 hours of community service by the Thames Magistrates Court in June, after pleading guilty to the offense, PA Media reported at the time.
“Obviously I have done something very bad and I apologize again for what I’ve done,” he said in the interview with West Ham. “I know it was very tough for people to watch and to see that and obviously I feel very, very sorry. I have great remorse about it.”
The UK animal welfare charity, RSPCA launched an investigation into the French international player after a video of the incident, filmed by his younger brother, Yoan, surfaced online in February showing him hurling shoes at his pet cat, slapping it across the face, chasing it around the room and kicking it across the floor in what looked to be a private residence.
During the sentencing at Thames Magistrates’ Court, Zouma was also banned from owning a cat for five years and ordered to pay court fines of nearly £9,000 ($11,214).
Yoan was ordered to complete 140 hours of community service after pleading guilty to one count of aiding, abetting, counseling or procuring his older brother to commit an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
The RSPCA seized two cats belonging to Zouma shortly after the incident and they have remained in their care since February.
“I learned from it, that’s the most important thing, I would say,” Zouma added. “Obviously, I had support from many, many people around me who helped me stay focused on football and I try to stay happy.”
West Ham fined the French international defender the maximum amount possible following his actions in the video and donated the money to animal welfare charities. l
“The club has been unbelievable with me, the support that I received from my teammates, from the staff, and everyone at the club, and even from the fans, have 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.”