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Kurt Zouma’s apology in full:

In a statement sent out to the media, Zouma said in a statement: ‘I want to apologise for my actions. 

‘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.’

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Cat-kicker Kurt Zouma was booed every time he touched the ball while playing for West Ham in the Premier League last night. 

The football star was caught on video kicking and slapping his pet cat and laughing as he did it in his £2million Essex home.

Although the club dressed down the player, who reportedly earns £120,000-a-week, they named him in their starting lineup against Watford on Tuesday evening. 

His every touch of the ball was met by loud booing from both sets of supporters.

When he was on the receiving end of a tough challenge and started limping, Watford fans chanted ‘that’s how your cat feels’. 

Users on social media also flocked online in droves to express their disgust that the defender was named in West Ham’s team.

Zouma got the last touch in the match, which finished 1-0 to West Ham.  

The release of the videos sparked calls for West Ham to sack the star, including by BBC presenter Gabby Logan, who posted on Twitter: ‘I think I would probably get rid of a player who kicked and hit an animal for ‘laughs’ in his kitchen. All in front of his child.’ 

Other celebrities joined fans and cat lovers on social media in mocking the London club and their star defender. 

Soccer Saturday anchor Jeff Stelling sarcastically said: ‘That’s certainly taught Zouma a lesson @WestHam. He must be repentant now having suffered for so long before he wears the club’s shirt again.’ 

Meanwhile, Match of the Day commentator Ian Wright labelled Zouma a ‘coward’. 

The star apologised yesterday after being given a telling off by West Ham bosses over a shocking video showing him kicking and slapping his pet Bengal cat.

In a grovelling statement, the 27-year-old, who only joined the east London club from Chelsea in a £29.8million deal in the summer, said he was ‘deeply sorry’ over the incident and insisted his cats were ‘loved and cherished’.

The apology comes as his club side issued their own statement, in which they ‘unreservedly condemned’ the defender’s actions. 

Yet the footballer is not yet off the hook and is facing a joint police and RSPCA animal cruelty investigation. 

Initially the Met Police said they would not investigate the incident, before Surrey Police said they would look into the matter. However, it later emerged the attack was filmed in the millionaire’s new £2million Essex home. 

Essex police said: ‘We are aware of a video circulating on social media relating to an incident involving a cat which members of our communities may find distressing.

‘We have recently been made aware that this incident may have taken place in Essex and we are liaising with the RSPCA and urgent enquiries are ongoing.’

The RSPCA, which has the power to prosecute in animal welfare cases, said it was ‘aware’ of the ‘very upsetting footage’. 

If Zouma was found to be guilty of animal cruelty he could face up to five years in jail and an unlimited fine. 

Social media users took to Twitter yesterday to put pressure on the RSPCA and police to investigate.

A petition calling for the charity to take action against the French international was also  launched. It has already been signed more than 50,000 times. 

The RSPCA, whose prosecutions carry a maximum sentence of five-years in prison for the most serious of offences, would not confirm the receipt of any official complaints that would lead to an investigation.

The charity however say it had received ‘lots of messages on social media’ and other channels about the video, which was taken on Sunday – the day after Zouma appeared for the club in their FA Cup victory over non-league Kidderminster Harriers. 

RSPCA bosses urged people only to come forward to them if they had ‘first hand information’ about the incident.  

Addressing the video in a statement yesterday, the West Ham defender said: ‘I want to apologise for my actions.

The Snapchat video, captioned with 'Sa commence' showed Zouma kicking the cat across his kitchen floor

The Snapchat video, captioned with 'Sa commence' showed Zouma kicking the cat across his kitchen floor

The Snapchat video, captioned with ‘Sa commence’ showed Zouma kicking the cat across his kitchen floor

A separate clip also showed the West Ham defender slapping the cat out of a child's hands

A separate clip also showed the West Ham defender slapping the cat out of a child's hands

A separate clip also showed the West Ham defender slapping the cat out of a child’s hands

In a grovelling statement, the 27-year-old (pictured), who only joined the east London club from Chelsea in a £29.8million deal in the summer, said he was ‘deeply sorry’ over the incident and insisted his cats were ‘loved and cherished’ 

‘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’s statement on Kurt Zouma in full: 

‘West Ham United unreservedly condemns the actions of our player, Kurt Zouma, in the video that has circulated.

‘We have spoken to Kurt and will be dealing with the matter internally, but we would like to make it clear that we in no way condone cruelty towards animals.’

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Zouma was said to have been angered after the cat caused a mess inside his house.

West Ham have said the club will ‘deal with the matter internally’. In a short statement, the Premier League club said: ‘West Ham United unreservedly condemn the actions of Kurt Zouma in the video that has circulated.

‘We have spoken to Kurt and will be dealing with the matter internally, but we would like to make it clear that we in no way condone cruelty towards animals.’  

Social media users flooded Twitter with complaints about the video, urging the RSPCA to take action. 

Susan Hall, a Conservative London Assembly Member, copying in both Kurt Zouma and the RSPCA, added: ‘Kurt Zouma should never be allowed to own an animal again. Disgusting, unforgivable behaviour.’  

Meanwhile, a petition calling on the RSPCA to take action has now been launched. The Change.Org petition has already been signed more than 50,000 times.  

Kurt Zouma celebrates with teammates Lanzini and Bowen, who scored the match-winner. Zouma got the last touch in the match, which finished 1-0 to West Ham against Watford

Kurt Zouma celebrates with teammates Lanzini and Bowen, who scored the match-winner. Zouma got the last touch in the match, which finished 1-0 to West Ham against Watford

Kurt Zouma celebrates with teammates Lanzini and Bowen, who scored the match-winner. Zouma got the last touch in the match, which finished 1-0 to West Ham against Watford

West Ham's Kurt Zouma controls the ball during a Premier League match between West Ham United and Watford at the London stadium on Tuesday

West Ham's Kurt Zouma controls the ball during a Premier League match between West Ham United and Watford at the London stadium on Tuesday

West Ham’s Kurt Zouma controls the ball during a Premier League match between West Ham United and Watford at the London stadium on Tuesday

The West Ham defender faced boos whenever he touched the ball as the Hammers played the Hornets

The West Ham defender faced boos whenever he touched the ball as the Hammers played the Hornets

The West Ham defender faced boos whenever he touched the ball as the Hammers played the Hornets

When Zouma was on the receiving end of a particularly tough challenge, fans started singing 'that's how your cat feels'

When Zouma was on the receiving end of a particularly tough challenge, fans started singing 'that's how your cat feels'

When Zouma was on the receiving end of a particularly tough challenge, fans started singing ‘that’s how your cat feels’

French international Zouma cut a forlorn figure during the first half of the match. He reportedly earns £120,000-a-week, which amounts to £6.24million each year

French international Zouma cut a forlorn figure during the first half of the match. He reportedly earns £120,000-a-week, which amounts to £6.24million each year

French international Zouma cut a forlorn figure during the first half of the match. He reportedly earns £120,000-a-week, which amounts to £6.24million each year

Centre back Zouma was named in West Ham's starting line up as the Hammers faced Watford in the Premier League

Centre back Zouma was named in West Ham's starting line up as the Hammers faced Watford in the Premier League

Centre back Zouma was named in West Ham’s starting line up as the Hammers faced Watford in the Premier League

Even the parody account for the Downing Street cat, Larry, expressed his disgust at the club starting Zouma in West Ham's match against Watford on Tuesday

Even the parody account for the Downing Street cat, Larry, expressed his disgust at the club starting Zouma in West Ham's match against Watford on Tuesday

Even the parody account for the Downing Street cat, Larry, expressed his disgust at the club starting Zouma in West Ham’s match against Watford on Tuesday

A spokesperson for the RSPCA said: ‘This is a very upsetting video. It’s never acceptable to kick, hit or slap an animal, for punishment or otherwise. 

‘We are so grateful to people who report suspected animal suffering to us and we would like to reassure people we will always look into and, if necessary, investigate any complaints made to us about animal welfare.’

Why would the RSPCA investigate instead of the police?

Investigations into animal welfare incidents are generally led by the RSPCA.

The charity has a long established expertise in both the investigation and prosecution of cases involving animal welfare and has built up a useful body of precedent and case law over the years.

However they can call in police and local council officials to help with their investigations.

County Council Trading Standards, for instance, may investigate instances involving farmed animals. 

Cases put forward to the courts by the RSPCA are done so as private prosecutions – which mean they are not put forward by the CPS.

They are brought under the Animal Welfare Act. Last year the maximum prison sentence for animal cruelty was raised from six months to five years.

Last year it was reported that the RSPCA could end the practice of private prosecution and turn over its files to the Crown Prosecution Service instead

The charity said the move would allow it to continue its ‘frontline work’. 

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The spokesperson added: ‘We have received lots of messages on social media and our other channels, so we’re urging people to only contact our national cruelty line (0300 1234 999) if they have new or first-hand information.’

The shocking footage is believed to have been filmed by Zouma’s brother Yoan, and shows Zouma dropping the cat before kicking it across the kitchen floor.

He also chases the cat around the kitchen and dining room in front of a child, all while the person capturing the video laughs hysterically.

A separate clip, obtained by The Sun, also shows the French international throwing a pair of shoes at the cat before slapping it out of a child’s arms. 

The first of the clips was captioned with ‘sa commence’, which translated to ‘it is starting’.

A second clip was captioned with a series of laughing emojis. 

Zouma’s brother is currently signed with National League side Dagenham & Redbridge FC, who also condemned their star’s actions in a statement. 

In a statement issued on their website, club bosses said: ‘Since first becoming aware of the incident this morning the club has had discussions with Yoan and we will now take some time to consider our response, which we will of course make public in due course.

‘However, in the meantime we would like to make it completely clear that we in no way condone any form of cruelty towards animals and take this matter very seriously.

In a statement issues through the club’s website, Yoan Zouma said: ‘I deeply regret my involvement in the video that has been widely circulated and unreservedly apologise, not only for my actions, but for the upset and distress this will have caused to so many people.

‘I am now taking time to reflect on what I have done but wish to assure everyone that this was an isolated incident and not something that I am proud of.’ 

The video emerged the day after Zouma (pictured) appeared for the club in their FA Cup victory over non-league Kidderminster Harriers

The video emerged the day after Zouma (pictured) appeared for the club in their FA Cup victory over non-league Kidderminster Harriers

The video emerged the day after Zouma (pictured) appeared for the club in their FA Cup victory over non-league Kidderminster Harriers

Zouma's brother is currently signed with National League side Dagenham & Redbridge FC, who also condemned their star's actions in a statement. In a statement issued on their website, club bosses said: 'Since first becoming aware of the incident this morning the club has had discussions with Yoan and we will now take some time to consider our response, which we will of course make public in due course

Zouma's brother is currently signed with National League side Dagenham & Redbridge FC, who also condemned their star's actions in a statement. In a statement issued on their website, club bosses said: 'Since first becoming aware of the incident this morning the club has had discussions with Yoan and we will now take some time to consider our response, which we will of course make public in due course

Zouma’s brother is currently signed with National League side Dagenham & Redbridge FC, who also condemned their star’s actions in a statement. In a statement issued on their website, club bosses said: ‘Since first becoming aware of the incident this morning the club has had discussions with Yoan and we will now take some time to consider our response, which we will of course make public in due course

Chris Kirkland, a former Liverpool and England goalkeeper, also called for Zouma’s sacking. 

He told talkSPORT: ‘Kurt Zouma has got to be sacked. If I was West Ham captain, I’d want to get Zouma out of the dressing room.’

The row comes just months after prison sentences for animal cruelty were raised by the Government. 

In June last year, the maximum prison sentence for animal cruelty, which includes the abuse of cats, rose from six months to five years. Offenders can also receive an unlimited fine.

Source: Daily Mail

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