Tag: animal abuse

UK Soccer Player Pleads Guilty To Kicking, Slapping Cat

Remember Kurt Zouma, the soccer player who kicked and slapped his cat in a video posted online in February?

The West Ham United footballer pleaded guilty on May 24 to “causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal,” the BBC reported. His 24-year-old brother Yoan, who is also a professional soccer player, pleaded guilty to a single charge of abetting the crime when he filmed the violence and posted it to Snapchat.

An RSPCA investigation uncovered new details about the incident. Zouma was reportedly enraged when the cat scratched a chair.

“I swear I’ll kill it, I swear I’ll kill it,” he says in the video.

In the video, the elder Zouma, 27, drop-kicks the Bengal cat “like a football” in the prosecutor’s description, and slaps it hard in the face with a shoe. Both brothers were laughing in the footage, and Zouma’s child was present.

His brother Yoan uploaded the clip to Snapchat, and it would have remained private if not for the disgusted reaction of a woman Yoan asked on a date.

“I don’t think hitting a cat like that is OK – don’t bother coming today,” she wrote in a message to Yoan  Zouma, canceling their meet-up.

“I do not want to associate with people who find that funny, in front of a child as well,” she wrote.

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A Bengal cat. Credit: Marius Engesrønning/Wikimedia Commons

The outraged woman reported the brothers, and condemnation was swift: Zouma lost several sponsorship contracts, including his most lucrative deal with Adidas, and he was fined $250,000 by his team, which is the maximum a Premier League club can levy against a player.

The brothers don’t yet know the full consequences of their actions. They’ll return to court for sentencing on June 1, and although Zouma has been contrite and has people vouching for him to the court, there may be other considerations after Zouma’s video apparently inspired others to hit their cats and post the videos online.

People who imitated Zouma’s animal abuse formed an online group, calling themselves the “Kick the Cat Club.”

“Since this footage was put in the public domain there has been a spate of people hitting cats and posting it on various social media sites,” Thames Magistrate’s Court prosecutor Hazel Stevens said.

In the meantime, Zouma’s two Bengal cats have been in the custody of the RSPCA. The cats, Bonbon and Cherie, didn’t suffer any lasting physical injuries from the abuse, and despite enduring trauma, the RSPCA said both cats are friendly and will be ready for rehoming soon.

“What makes this case even more sad is the way the video was filmed and shared, making light of such cruelty,” the RSPCA’s Dermot Murphy said. “We hope this case will serve as a reminder that all animals deserve to be treated with kindness, compassion and respect, and that we will not tolerate cruelty.”

Sunday Cats: Buddy The Philly Cat Makes A Friend, His Attackers Get A Trial Date

Two Philadelphia minors will head to trial in May after they sicced their dogs on a cat sitting on a porch a month ago.

The juveniles, who are 17 and 12 years old, were walking their dogs in Philadelphia on March 22 when they set them loose on Buddy, a black cat who was cared for by a local family but spent most of his time outside. They shouted encouragement as their dogs mauled Buddy on his family’s porch and Buddy would have been killed if the commotion hadn’t drawn attention from inside.

When one of Buddy’s caretakers stepped outside and tried to stop the dogs, the teens pulled their canines back and fled. They turned themselves in to authorities a few days later after the story went viral and they realized the attack was captured by a doorbell camera system.

They each face felony and misdemeanor charges for animal cruelty, inflicting harm on an animal and other alleged offenses. Since they’re charged as minors the court system is not releasing their names, which is common practice in juvenile cases in most states.

Buddy was so badly injured that veterinarians weren’t sure if he’d make it at first. With a lot of care and love, the little guy pulled through the first few critical days and continued to recover until he was well enough to go to a foster home in early April.

His new caretaker is Katie Venanzi, a veterinarian who specializes in emergency care and operated on him that first day when he was brought in to Blue Pearl Vet Hospital by the Pennsylvania SPCA.

“He was kept secluded in one room initially, but now he has a run of the house and he is doing so well with his foster sibling cat Teddy. His foster parents affectionately say they are the two most awkward cats in Philadelphia, but their relationship is blossoming and we hope it continues that way so that Buddy can officially stay in that home forever,” the SPCA’s Gillian Kocher said. “Hopefully in the coming weeks, we will have some additional details and will let everybody know when we can make an official announcement about Buddy’s adoption, but for now he’s doing wonderfully.”

The reason Buddy was outside in the first place is that, as a stray, he resisted an indoor life when his original family tried to keep him inside.

Venanzi told a local radio station that her and her husband are trying to help Buddy adjust to an indoor life and hope they can adopt him.

“We want to do whatever he needs,” she said. “We understand that he used to live outside. If he is not comfortable living in our house, we are willing to work with other people who are going to give him an opportunity to be in a safe environment but still exposed to the outdoors. We are going to take it day by day and see how he does, but we are really hoping to keep him.”

When Buddy’s story went viral, people around the world responded by making donations to the Pennsylvania SPCA and buying t-shirts with Buddy’s likeness on them, allowing the group to raise thousands. Meanwhile, in a post to social media, the Pennsylvania SPCA noted it had taken in 158 abused animals since Buddy was attacked: “That’s more than five Buddys a day.”

Some of those dogs and cats were shot or stabbed, while others were neglected or starved, Kocher said. Leftover money from Buddy’s surgeries and treatment will be used to help the other abused animals in the SPCA’s care.

UK Footballer Who Abused Cat Gets Ridiculed By Fans, Dropped By Sponsors

Kurt Zouma’s cat is getting the last laugh.

Zouma and his brother thought they were being clever and funny when they uploaded a video showing the professional soccer player drop-kicking the poor kitty, throwing a shoe at it and slapping it in the face while Zouma’s child held the terrified pet.

The UK Sun ran a story about the video, which the Zouma brothers uploaded to Snapchat. The story went viral this week and Zouma has taken an enormous hit to his wallet and reputation.

Zouma’s club, West Ham United, fined the footballer £250,000, which works out to about $338,00, or 20 percent of his yearly salary. In a statement the club said it was the maximum amount it could fine one of its players.

Zouma’s primary sponsor, Adidas, has dropped him, while insurance company Vitality dropped its sponsorship of the entire club and other sponsors may follow.

And on Tuesday night in his first game since the scandal, Zouma was roasted by fans who showed up to watch West Ham play Watford at London Stadium. The rowdy crowd jeered every time Zouma touched the ball.

“Kurt Zouma, he plays at centre-back, he kicks his f—ing cat!” the fans chanted.

Finally, in a scene that played out like a divine condemnation of Zouma’s treatment of his kitty, a confused stray cat bolted onto the field and interrupted play during Tuesday night’s match between English League teams Wigan and Sheffield. Fans cheered as Wigan’s Jason Kerr carefully picked up the freaked-out feline and carried her off the field, risking a penalty for leaving the playing area during the game.

The British press didn’t miss the opportunity to contrast how the two football pros treated felines.

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Scotsman Jason Kerr of Wigan gently scoops up Topsey, a house cat who interrupted play on Tuesday night.

Team staff brought the tortoiseshell to a veterinarian who treated her for injuries, scanned for a microchip, and found she belonged to a family in Wirral, a town in northwest England.

The cat’s name is Topsey and she’d been missing for eight months. Alison Jubb, Topsey’s human, said she was going on vacation and was bringing Topsey to a cattery when the cat got scared and bolted out of her carrier. That was the last she heard of Topsey until late Tuesday night.

“My daughter-in-law rang me last night as they were watching the match and said there was a cat on the football pitch” who resembled Topsey, Jubb told the BBC. “I sort of laughed it off.”

But Jubb said she was no longer laughing when she received a call from a veterinarian telling her Topsey had been brought in by Wigan Athletic staff. Topsey was given pain medication and is under treatment for bite wounds, possibly from a dog, to her neck, per the BBC.

Topsey was reunited with her humans, while Zouma voluntarily surrendered his abused cat and his second kitty to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

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A still from the Snapchat video showing Zouma just before he drop-kicked the kitty while his other cat cowers on the floor.

The sequence of events restored some hope to animal lovers in the UK, who were dismayed when police said they would not charge Zouma for lack of evidence, despite the video clips and Zouma’s admission that he abused his cat.

However, Zouma’s legal troubles aren’t over. The 27-year-old is a French national and could face charges in his home country, where the public was outraged by his behavior and embarrassed that a high-profile Frenchman would harm an animal.

Zouma has been condemned by French politicians and there are calls to remove him from the French national team.

In the meantime, the RSPCA is conducting its own inquiry into the abuse incidents.

“We’re investigating and the cats are safe and in our care,” the group said in a statement. “We have been dealing with this since before the clip went viral online and we need to follow the proper legal process and not discuss due to UK GDPR laws.”

Alabama Vet Who Brutalized Cat Leaves Practice

Ever since a leaked video showed him punching and choking a cat at his practice, Richard Timothy Logan has tried to hang on to his veterinary career.

The Ozark, Alabama-based vet came to the attention of animal welfare advocates and cat lovers in early April 2021, when a former employee at Andrews Avenue Animal Hospital posted a video showing a man identified as Logan in a veterinary examination room, punching, choking and dangling a 21-year-old cat by her collar.

Logan was investigated by police and arrested on animal abuse charges. That case is still pending. In addition, he faces a civil suit related to the video and the state’s veterinary board is investigating his conduct after the video sparked a series of complaints and requests to revoke his license to practice veterinary medicine.

Now, more than eight months after the video’s leak and his arrest, Logan announced he will “no longer be associated with” Andrews Animal Hospital. A letter posted on the animal hospital’s doors says Logan left the on Jan. 10 and the practice is looking for a new veterinarian. If they can’t find one by Jan. 31, they’ll call it quits.

From our original post about the video:

A man identified as Logan was examining a calico cat in November, in an exam room at the animal hospital when he grabbed the cat by the scruff of her neck and punched her on the top of her head with a closed fist, video of the exam shows. Still holding the cat by her scruff, he slammed her down onto the exam table, then did it again more forcefully.

Logan then swiped the cat off the exam table, causing her to fall to the floor.

Logan steps out of the frame for several seconds, then the video cuts forward, showing Logan again with his hands on the cat as a veterinary assistant holds the terrified, screaming feline down.

He punches the cat a second time, makes an annoyed gesture, then picks the cat up by her collar and dangles her as she struggles.

The cat was traumatized by the incident but survived and didn’t suffer any permanent physical damage.

Logan pleaded not guilty to two subsequent counts of animal abuse and hired an outspoken lawyer who has denied Logan did anything wrong, said his client has been the target of outlandish threats, and even tried to undermine the former employee who posted the video by claiming she brought her own dog to the veterinarian for treatment and “trusted him with her precious pet.”

David Harrison, Logan’s attorney, said his client was going to sue online commenters who condemned the accused veterinarian, and says Logan will be vindicated in court. He did not dispute that the video shows Logan mishandling the cat, but said it lacks context.

The video, Harrison claims, merely “shows Logan appearing to abuse a cat, though contributing circumstances, if any, are not known.”

Richard Timothy Logan
In this still from the leaked video, Logan throws the 21-year-old cat onto the exam table in his veterinary practice.

It’s worth noting there are no circumstances in which it’s appropriate for anyone, much less a veterinarian, to abuse a cat. Even frustration’s not an excuse: Handling animals is part of the job in veterinary work, and vets are trained to calm cats they have to examine, as well as techniques to hold and restrain cats if they won’t tolerate routine things like having blood drawn for lab work.

Harrison even invoked America’s war dead in Logan’s defense when the abused cat’s owners filed a civil suit.

“We have the best defense there is—not guilty,” Harrison told WTVY, a local news station. “One point five million Americans have died on foreign soil for us to have the right to be innocent until proven guilty.”

The number Harrison cites is untrue: There have been 666,411 total combat deaths in all US wars, and some 451,000 combat deaths on foreign soil.

Logan or his staff has also been involved in a protracted war of words with his online critics and former clients, even going so far as to pull the charts of two former clients and describing them in detail in an attempt to refute complaints they’ve made on Google reviews. While Andrews Avenue Animal Hospital has 4+ stars on Google reviews thanks to an abundance of five-star reviews counteracting the negative reviews, its rating on Yelp is considerably worse.

There’s no [NAME REDACTED] in the aaah computer system except a [NAME REDACTED] in collections from 2014 for a bad/unpaid debt ! Her dog has not been to aaah for any surgery and has not been on the appointment book for anything & is flat out lying !,” an account that defended Logan posted. (The retaliatory review included the name of the client. We redacted the name for this post.)

Too Many ‘Cute’ Pet Videos Are Animal Abuse

I know I’ll probably catch some heat for this, but the below video, which a Newsweek writer gushes over and 8.8 million people favorited, is an example of animal abuse. It may not be violent, it may not be particularly overt, but it’s animal abuse all the same.

@cowlashes

She stays in bed like this alllll night 😉 her name is Pishy (pee-she)

♬ Great Mother In The Sky – Lionmilk

I get why people are saying this is “adorable” and think it’s sweet, but anyone familiar with cats can see clearly the kitty does not like being picked up, then placed in a bed on her back. She protests, then moves to get away, but her “owner” clamps her down and presses an admonitory finger to her nose.

Little Pishy’s ears twitch and her eyes dilate. Her owner slides her into position, then holds her down before tucking her in beneath a heavy comforter. Then the woman takes both of the Pishy’s paws, places them deliberately above the comforter just the way she likes them, and finally wags her finger in the cat’s face again before she’s finished, as if to warn her: “Don’t move a paw.”

Just before she steps away, she strokes Pishy’s paw a few times with a finger, an affectionate afterthought on her terms.

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This is not love. (Still image from TikTok video.)

Let’s be blunt here: The cat is not enjoying any part of the whole charade. She would almost certainly rather sleep like a cat, and not be treated as an infantilized, anthropomorphized stuffed animal. Her “owner” is dictating everything from the position in which she sleeps to where she can keep her paws.

“She stays in bed like this alllll night ;),” the TikToker brags in the video description.

Of course she does, because she’s probably scared to find out what will happen if she doesn’t. This isn’t a person who considers her cat a living being with her own feelings. She’s a person who sees her cat as a prop and a way to earn the adulation of strangers on the internet.

The same thing applies to all the “cute” videos of cats forced to wear clothing, glasses and hats, and posed in human-like positions. Last week, a short clip of two cats watching an iPad went viral. The cats are snuggled together in a miniature chair, posed like miniature humans. The larger cat has a paw around the smaller cat’s shoulders, and the tablet is balanced between their free paws.

Instead of gushing over the seemingly perfect 8 seconds we see, it’s worth thinking about what we don’t see, and how that manufactured scene came to be. I can assure you it does not involve animals who enjoy being posed like dolls for the benefit of an audience they don’t know exists, on a medium they don’t understand.

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Cats dressed and posed as Robin Hood, Bob Ross, Spiderman, the monster from Stranger Things, some sort of naval admiral or Founding Father, and a Stark from Game of Thrones. I think.

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A cat who doesn’t understand what a costume is, not enjoying his Freddie Kruger outfit.

I keep coming back to the best advice I ever got about taking care of a cat: The strength of the human-feline bond depends in large part on how much the human takes the cat’s feelings into consideration.

We’re much bigger, stronger and some of us subscribe to the archaic “might is right” way of thinking. Imagine the reverse: Five hundred pound cats as large as tigers, subjecting us to tongue baths at their whim, posing us like dolls and forcing us to sit, stand and sleep in feline positions because it’s “cute.”

I am by no means an expert in cat care, and I don’t pretend to be some sort of cat whisperer or cat guru, but one thing I’ve always done is let my cat decide when he wants affection and interaction. I’ve never grabbed him and held him in my lap, or tried to dress him in miniature samurai armor for social media snaps.

When he meows for a head scratch or lays down on my chest and purrs as he listens to my heart beat, it’s because he wants to be there, and he knows I won’t grab him and force him to stay when he wants to get up.

If I treated him like a doll and tried that tuck-in move with him, he’d claw the hell out of me, and I’d deserve it. He’s my Buddy, not my property or my puppet.

What do you think? Am I overreacting, or are you disturbed by these videos as well?

Feline humor, news and stories about the ongoing adventures of Buddy the Cat.