Kurt Zouma could face four years in prison in France for attacking pet cat
Zouma could face a prison sentence in his native France
Kurt Zouma could face up to four years in prison in his native France for abusing his pet cat in a video which circulated across social media on Monday night.
The West Ham United defender was filmed kicking and slapping his cat while he could also be heard laughing at his home in Essex.
The 27-year-old apologised on Tuesday, while West Ham also released a statement to say they would be dealing with the matter internally.
Despite this, Zouma was still named in the starting line-up for the Hammers' game against Watford on Tuesday night - with manager David Moyes criticised for his attempt to justify his decision to include him.
As exclusively revealed by the Daily Mail, a legal complaint has been filed against the Frenchman in Paris which led to the 30 Million Friends Foundation, the largest animal rights group in France, contacting prosecutors.
A spokesperson on behalf of the foundation said: "We condemn this heinous act, have asked that the player be suspended from the France team, and filed a legal complaint against him."
Article 113-6 of the French Penal Code states that French citizens can be prosecuted for criminal acts outside of the country. It comes after tougher animal protection laws were enforced in 2021.
The new laws state that the "mistreatment of animals" is now punishable by up to four years in prison as well as a fine equivalent to £5,000.
Several high-ranking French politicians have condemned Zouma's actions, with some believing he should be dropped from the French national team.
Muriel Fusi, who is a spokesperson for the French Animal party said: "Many people on social networks are outraged by the video. Many people claim that this football player can no longer wear the colours of France."
Surrey Police have confirmed that they will investigate the offence whereas the Metropolitan Police confirmed they would not be launching an enquiry.
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