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Zouma banned from keeping cats for five years for abuse

LONDON (AP) – West Ham defender Kurt Zouma was banned yesterday from keeping cats for five years and ordered to carry out 180 hours of community service as a punishment for kicking and slapping his pet cat in abuse caught on video.

The France international received his sentence at Thames Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty last week to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

In footage of the abuse that took place on February 6 and surfaced on social media, the football player could be seen kicking his Bengal cat across his kitchen, before throwing a pair of shoes at it and slapping its head.

Zouma’s younger brother, Yoan, filmed the incident involving the cat and posted it on Snapchat.

Yoan Zouma was ordered yesterday to carry out 140 hours of community service in a hearing that lasted 15 minutes.

West Ham United player Kurt Zouma arrives at Thames Magistrates’ Court in London. PHOTO: AP

He is also a football player, and was suspended in February by fifth-tier team Dagenham.

West Ham fined Zouma two weeks of salary – the maximum amount possible – when the incident came to light, but manager David Moyes continued to pick the defender to play when fit. Zouma also lost a sponsorship deal with Adidas.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) took Kurt Zouma’s two pet cats into care after the incident.

The RSPCA brought the prosecution against the brothers even though it does not have the power to charge people.

British law allows organisations 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.