Kurt Zouma: Animal charity RSPCA takes footballer's cats into care after mistreatment video

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By Euronews and AP
West Ham's Kurt Zouma celebrates at the end of the English Premier League soccer match between Aston Villa and West Ham United at Villa Park in Birmingham
West Ham's Kurt Zouma celebrates at the end of the English Premier League soccer match between Aston Villa and West Ham United at Villa Park in Birmingham   -  Copyright  Credit: AP

An animal charity has taken the cats of French footballer Kurt Zouma into care after footage emerged of them being mistreated.

The 27-year-old, currently playing for West Ham United in England, is seen kicking and slapping a cat in a video released by The Sun newspaper.

He apologised for his actions and said he regretted his behaviour. West Ham said it would deal with the player internally.

On Wednesday, UK animal charity RSPCA said it had taken the cats into care.

"We'd like to reassure people that we're investigating and the cats are safe and in our care. We have been dealing with this since before the clip went viral online and need time to conduct our investigation.

"We are a charity but we have to act in a similar way to the police in the way we investigate any matter, following proper legal processes.

"Investigations do not conclude overnight and there is often work going on behind the scenes that we're unable to update people on."

Later on Wednesday, the German sportswear company Adidas announced that it had terminated its contract with Zouma.

“I want to apologise for my actions,” Zouma had said. “There are no excuses for my behaviour, which I sincerely regret. I also want to say how deeply sorry I am to anyone who was upset by the video. I would like to assure everyone that our two cats are perfectly fine and healthy.

“They are loved and cherished by our entire family, and this behaviour was an isolated incident that will not happen again.”

West Ham added that Zouma was cooperating with the RSCPA.

"West Ham United can confirm that the Club is supporting an RSPCA investigation into the actions of Kurt Zouma in the video circulated online this week.

"Kurt and the Club are cooperating fully with the investigation and the player has willingly complied with the steps taken in the initial stage of the process, including delivering his family’s two cats to the RSPCA for assessment. Kurt is extremely remorseful and, like everyone at the Club, fully understands the depth of feeling surrounding the incident and the need for action to be taken."