West Ham urge Kurt Zouma be allowed to ‘move on’ after being given community service for cat abuse video

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West Ham urge Kurt Zouma be allowed to ‘move on’ after being given community service for cat abuse video
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West Ham hope Kurt Zouma will be allowed to "learn from his mistake and move on" after the defender was sentenced to 180 hours of community service for abusing his cat.

Zouma and his brother Yoan were sentenced at Thames Magistrates Court on Wednesday after both admitted to charges of animal abuse last week.

Footage posted online in February showed the West Ham defender slapping, drop-kicking and throwing a pair of shoes at one of his bengal cats in front of his seven-year-old son, while Yoan could be heard laughing as he filmed the incident.

Yoan, a player for non-league side Dagenham and Redbridge, was sentenced to 140 hours of community service, while the brothers were banned from owning cats for five years.

Zouma was fined two weeks wages by West Ham - around £250,000 - at the time but was selected for their game against Watford just hours after the video emerged.

His two cats were seized by the RSPCA and he has since been targeted with abuse, threats and racism online, which are the subject of an investigation by Essex Police.

In a statement, West Ham reiterated that Zouma's behaviour was "unacceptable" but urged the public to allow the 27-year-old to move on.

"West Ham United can confirm that Kurt Zouma has been handed a community service order following an investigation by the RSPCA," said a club spokesperson. "West Ham United wishes to make clear that we condemn in the strongest terms any form of animal abuse or cruelty.

"This type of behaviour is unacceptable and is not in line with the values of the Football Club. Within 48 hours of the footage emerging, we fined Kurt the maximum available to the Club.Every single penny of this money is now with a number of deserving charities, all dedicated to animal welfare.

"Kurt admitted at the earliest opportunity that what he did was wrong. He has apologised without reservation. We hope that now the court has reached its decision, everyone will allow Kurt the chance to learn from his mistake and move on."

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