Kurt Zouma banned from keeping cats for five years over 'reprehensible' video
Footballer Kurt Zouma has been banned from owning cats for five years as he was sentenced for animal cruelty.
The West Ham defender was widely criticised after social media footage emerged of him kicking his pet Bengal cat across his kitchen before throwing a pair of shoes at it, slapping its head, and saying: "I swear I'll kill it."
District judge Susan Holdham described the actions as "disgraceful and reprehensible" as she sentenced the 27-year-old to 180 hours' of community service, banned him from caring for cats for five years, and ordered him to pay £9,000 in court costs.
Zouma showed no emotion on Wednesday as he was handed the sentence at Thames Magistrates' Court in east London, where he was greeted by a man dressed in a cat outfit.
His sentencing comes after he pleaded guilty last week to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a cat, after blaming the family pet for damaging a chair.
The court was told the "premeditated" attack was filmed by his younger brother, lower-league footballer Yoan Zouma, 24, in February, and sent to a woman he was due to go on a date with.
But the woman was so shocked that she called off their meeting, telling him: "I don't think hitting a cat like that is OK - don't bother coming today."
The court heard Yoan had 80 followers on Snapchat, and only five accounts viewed it before it was deleted a few minutes after being posted.
Yoan admitted one count of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring his older brother to commit an offence.
Sentencing the pair, the district judge said: "Both of you took part in this disgraceful and reprehensible act with this pet cat.
"You must be aware that others look up to you and many young people aspire to emulate you."
The court heard Hammers defender Zouma had been subject to racist abuse and threats, lost a "substantial" sponsorship deal with Adidas, was fined £250,000 and had no longer been picked for the France national team since the furore over the footage emerged.
A West Ham spokesman said the club hopes "everyone will allow Kurt the chance to learn from his mistake and move on".
In a statement, RSPCA chief inspectorate officer Dermot Murphy said: "We hope this case will serve as a reminder that all animals deserve to be treated with kindness, compassion and respect, and that we will not tolerate cruelty by anybody."
Reference: The Independent: Izzy Lyons