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9th February 2022

Our comment in response to video footage of footballer kicking cat

9 Feb 2022 - Cats Protection’s Director of Veterinary Services Maggie Roberts said:

"We are very pleased and relieved to hear that Kurt Zouma’s two cats – one of which he was seen kicking in the video - are safely in the RSPCA’s care and that there is an investigation underway.

Kicking, hitting and slapping cats or any other animal is not only illegal but completely unacceptable in today’s society.  Cats are sentient beings that experience pain and fear just like any other species.

Footballers are in the privileged position of being role models to people across the world, making this case all the more distressing. Anyone with an influential position in public life should be held to the highest standards, and it is important that a clear message is sent that animal cruelty will not be tolerated at any level.

We will now await the findings of the RSPCA’s investigation and want to thank the many animal lovers who have expressed their concern for the cats involved in this case. It has been heartening to see so many people come together to say that abuse of this kind has no place in our society.

We firmly believe that anyone seen or suspected of treating an animal badly, whether this is physical violence, neglect or any other form of cruelty should be reported to the RSPCA or Police and face the appropriate consequences.”

8 Feb 2022 - Comment from Dominic Sullivan, Cats Protection’s Director of Legal Services.

"Cats Protection and its many supporters and volunteers are shocked by this video as it’s hard to understand how anyone can treat a cat in this cruel way. As we are primarily a rescue and rehoming organisation and do not carry out private prosecutions, we believe that an investigation and prosecution should be carried out either by the police or the RSPCA.

The police have powers under the Animal Welfare Act to investigate and prosecute offences of cruelty while the RSPCA doesn’t have any powers under the Act but sometimes carries out private prosecutions.

Cats Protection was heavily involved in the campaign to raise sentences for cruelty as it sends a message that animal cruelty is not acceptable. Last year the maximum penalty for cruelty offences (causing unnecessary suffering) was raised from six months to five years and/or an unlimited fine. Cruelty to animals is a serious criminal offence and we have been contacted by many people wanting to know why the Police are not treating it as such and carrying out an investigation.

We understand from the media reports that West Ham are investigating the matter and ultimately whether they decide to dismiss Kurt Zouma or not is their decision.

However, we’d want to impress upon them how serious this is and how shocked and outraged Cats Protection, its supporters and members of the public are by this incident. Cruelty to animals is no longer socially acceptable and is potentially a criminal offence."

Read our reaction to Kurt Zouma playing football on the evening of 8 February

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