West Ham defender Kurt Zouma and his brother Yoan are being prosecuted under British Animal Welfare laws after a disturbing video circulated showing Kurt slapping and kicking one of his cats.
The footage, shot by Yoan, prompted widespread outrage and led to a hefty fine for Kurt when it circulated last month.
The animal welfare charity the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) took two cats belonging to Kurt Zouma, 27, into its care following the incident.
On Wednesday it said it was taking action against the footballers.
“Following a full and thorough investigation, we have started the process of bringing a prosecution against Kurt Zouma and Yoan Zouma under the Animal Welfare Act,” it said in a statement.
“The two cats continue to be cared for by the RSPCA. We will be in a position to release more information once a court date is confirmed.”
Yoan Zouma also plays football in England, for non-league side Dagenham and Redbridge.
A statement from the club said: “Dagenham and Redbridge FC note the decision of the RSPCA to charge Yoan Zouma under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
“Whilst Yoan continues to fully cooperate with the RSPCA, as this matter has now progressed further, Dagenham and Redbridge FC feel it is no longer appropriate for either Yoan or the club to make any further statement.”
The club said their defender would now be available to play for them after being suspended since February but added they reserved the right to take further action “if deemed necessary” following the conclusion of court proceedings.
West Ham manager David Moyes has continued to select France international Kurt Zouma since the incident despite calls for tougher action against him.
The central defender was fined the “maximum amount possible” by the Premier League club and lost his deal with sportswear giant Adidas over the incident.
Hundreds of thousands of people signed an online petition calling for him to be prosecuted and club sponsors expressed their displeasure over the contents of the video.
The central defender has been jeered by spectators, including some Hammers fans.