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.
Premier League star Kurt Zouma could face an RSPCA probe after video emerged of the footballer kicking and slapping a Bengal cat – as hundreds have now signed a petition calling for the charity to take action.
The shocking footage shows the West Ham defender, 27, laughing as he chases the cat around his £2million London home.
They video was taken on Sunday – the day after he appeared for the club in their FA Cup victory over non-league Kidderminster Harriers.
Today the RSPCA, which has the power to prosecute in animal welfare cases, has commented on the footage, describing it as ‘very upsetting’.
And bosses at the charity told MailOnline they could launch an investigation, if a complaint is made.
The RSPCA, whose prosecutions carry a maximum sentence of five-years in prison for the most serious of offences, did not reveal if any complaints had yet been made.
However social media users have already flooded Twitter with complaints about the video, urging the RSPCA to take action.
One Twitter user even labelled her post an ‘official complaint’ and copied in the charity. It is not clear if this counts as an official complaint.
The Twitter user wrote: ‘Hi RSPCA_official. I am logging an official complaint about the clear case of animal cruelty that has been carried out by Kurt Zouma in a video posted on Snapchat.
‘Please remove this cat and any other animals from this person’s household ASAP.’
Another wrote: ‘RSPCA_official. Are you going to investigate this idiot?’
And 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 behavior.’
Meanwhile a petition calling on the RSPCA to take action has now been launched. The Change.Org petition has already been signed more than 500 times.
A spokesperson for the charity said: ‘This is a very upsetting video. It’s never acceptable to kick, hit or slap an animal, for punishment or otherwise.
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
‘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.’
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 his 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.
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. while Zouma has also said he is ‘deeply sorry’.
In a statement, Zouma said: ‘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.’
Zouma in action for West Ham in an FA Cup match against Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday
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.
A statement from West Ham said: ‘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.’
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.
Leave a Reply