West Ham player Kurt Zouma has been fined the “maximum amount possible” for mistreating his cat, the English Premier League side have announced.
The French defender will have to pay two weeks wages, reported to be around £250,000, to animal welfare charities after a video surfaced online showing him dropping, kicking and slapping the pet.
The London club says Zouma would be co-operating fully with the ongoing investigations.
Two cats belonging to the 27-year-old have also been taken into the care of the RSPCA as a result.
Zouma, who was selected by play by Scottish manager David Moyes, against Watford on Tuesday night, has been widely condemned after a video emerged on Monday.
A statement released on Wednesday said: “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 co-operating 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.
“Separate to the RSPCA’s investigation and pending further sanction once the outcome of that process is determined, West Ham United can confirm that Kurt Zouma has been fined the maximum amount possible following his actions in the video that circulated.
“The player has immediately accepted the fine, which will be donated to animal welfare charities.
“West Ham United would like to reiterate our condemnation of Kurt’s actions and make it clear that the matter continues to be handled with the utmost seriousness.
“However, we believe it is now important to allow the RSPCA to conduct their investigation in a fair and thorough manner, and will be making no further comment at this stage.”
The RSPCA swiftly rebuked the “very upsetting” clip and will be leading an investigation while co-operating with Essex Police.
More than 150,000 people have signed an online petition on Change.org, started by Anti Animal Abuse, calling for Zouma to be prosecuted amid a growing public backlash.
An RSPCA spokesperson said: “The two cats are now in RSPCA care. Our priority is and has always been the wellbeing of these cats.
“They’ve been taken for a check-up at a vets and then will remain in our care while the investigation continues.
“We’re grateful to everyone who expressed their concern for these cats. We were dealing with this issue before the video went viral online and are leading the investigation.
“We continue to investigate so we cannot comment further at this time.”