West Ham United defender Kurt Zouma and his brother Yoan are set to be charged under animal welfare law after posting a video showing them abusing a pet cat, the RSPCA said on Wednesday.
The viral video, filmed by Yoan and posted to social media last month, showed Kurt dropping the tabby cat and knocking it to the ground.
“After a full and thorough investigation, we have begun the process of bringing charges against Kurt Zouma and Yoan Zouma under the Animal Welfare Act,” an RSPCA spokesman told Reuters.
“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.”
West Ham said they were aware of the RSPCA statement and said Kurt was cooperating fully with the investigation.
“We understand Kurt’s cats have been vet checked, are in good health and have no physical injuries,” the club said in a statement.
“For legal reasons, neither Kurt nor the club will comment further at this time.”
The video caused outrage and led to the club’s sponsors cutting ties with Kurt’s Premier League side West Ham, while Adidas also dropped their sponsorship of the defender. However, he continued to be selected by manager David Moyes.
West Ham said Zouma was fined the “maximum possible amount” last month, with British media reporting the fine was two weeks’ wages. The 27-year-old, who apologized, had accepted the fine which was to be donated to animal welfare charities.
Yoan had been dropped by his club Dagenham & Redbridge after the allegation last month, but the fifth-tier side said he would now be available to play.
“Dagenham & Redbridge FC note the RSPCA’s decision to charge Yoan Zouma under the Animal Welfare Act 2006,” they said in a statement.
“Four weeks have passed since the incident, and the club believes that any further suspension of the team would be detrimental to both the club and Yoan. It has therefore been decided that Yoan will be available to play.”
This story was published from a news feed with no text edits. Only the title has been changed.