Kurt Zouma faces growing backlash over cat abuse video as 130k sign petition

As part of a rising outrage over his abuse of his beloved cat, more than 130 000 people have signed an online petition calling for West Ham defender Kurt Zouma to be prosecuted.

After a video showing him dropping, kicking, and hitting the animal went viral, the France international was heavily chastised.

Police have confirmed that they are in contact with the RSPCA, an animal welfare organization, as part of their “urgent inquiries” into the case.

West Ham said they “unconditionally condemn” Zouma’s actions, despite the fact that he apologized and was selected by manager David Moyes for Tuesday’s 1-0 victory over Watford at the London Stadium.

A petition on Change.org reads: “In the UK we have laws against the abuse of animals, laws which should be applicable to everyone rich or poor, famous or not.

“We ask that the Metropolitan Police and RSPCA carry out an urgent investigation and prosecute the perpetrators of this heinous act.”

West Ham sponsor Experience Kissimmee – the club’s “official destination partner” – has said it “will be evaluating our relationship and sponsorship with the club” in light of the video.

Moyes, who insisted he was an “animal lover”, was criticised for playing Zouma on Tuesday but was adamant he had to do what was right for his club.

The defender got a taste of the growing public anger as he was relentlessly booed by Watford supporters, with even West Ham fans joining in some of the jeering.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan told Sky News that Zouma should be prosecuted, saying he should have been dropped from the team.

Conservationist Chris Packham branded Moyes’ decision to select Zouma an “absolute disgrace”, telling the BBC that a crime had been committed.

“I think it was a disgraceful decision,” he said.

“I think if the footballer had released on social media a film of him taking drugs or beating his wife or his girlfriend or his children, there was no way he would have been on the pitch.”

The RSPCA condemned the “very upsetting” video after it surfaced online and will be leading the investigation and cooperating with Essex Police.

“We cannot comment further at this time, but we’re grateful to everyone who has brought this to our attention,” said a statement from the charity.