Footballer in Colombia could face jail for kicking owl off field
Deportivo Pereira's Luis Moreno, seen playing for the Panamanian national team in 2009, could face charges over kicking an owl.
March 1st, 2011
12:14 PM ET

Footballer in Colombia could face jail for kicking owl off field

A professional soccer player in Colombia faces up to three months in jail for kicking an opposing team's lucky owl, which had been been hit by a ball after landing on the field Sunday. The owl died Tuesday.

The owl was considered a good luck charm for the Atlético Junior squad in Barranquilla and lived in its Metropolitan Stadium.

Luis Moreno, a Panamanian player for Deportivo Pereira, was met with chants of "Murderer! Murderer! Murderer!" after kicking the owl and had to leave the stadium under heavy police guard, according to the Daily Mail in London. (The Daily Mail has video of the owl kick, or you can check it out on YouTube.)

For those too squeamish to watch the footage, which the Daily Mail warns constitutes animal cruelty, a Pereira defender chases a Junior attacker into the penalty box, wins the ball from him and clears it, poorly, hitting the owl that had landed on the field.

The referee stops play, and Moreno trots over and kicks the bird off the field, a distance of about three yards.

The incident was aired on national television and prompted widespread outrage, and not just from Junior fans. Environmental groups urged sanctions against Moreno and called for protests at the National Soccer building in Bogota.

Moreno apologized, saying it was not his intention to harm the bird.

"I did it to see if the owl could fly," the Daily Mail quoted him as saying.

The owl was taken to Zoosalud veterinary clinic in Barranquilla, the Daily Mail reported. Veterinarians said it was suffering from stress and needed sedation but that X-rays indicated no fractures.

The veterinarians later told Colombia Reports, a news website, that the owl died early Tuesday of respiratory arrest.

A Spanish-language report from Radio Santa Fe in Bogota said that Moreno faces one to three months in prison and a maximum fine of 50,000 pesos, about $26.

Moreno apologized again in a news conference and said he would accept responsibility.

"I apologize to the whole country and more to the fans of Barranquilla because it was a very grave action, and if I receive a penalty, then I'll take it."

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Filed under: Animals • Colombia • Nature • Panama • Soccer • Sports • World
soundoff (496 Responses)
  1. Mikjail

    It's very sad that bad people do those kinds of actions in Colombia. The worst part of all is that all world knew it, but the good thing is that the footballer apologized, however it does not fix the problem. We need to think before doing something.

    April 11, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. S.E.O.G

    I think that we must preserve the life, in my country we always are an intolerant people and don't respect the life for another person...the life doesn't mean anything for the people. We must begin to preserve the life and try to be more tolerants.

    April 11, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. sosi

    i think we have to protect and respect the life and it includes the animals life. It was a bad behavior.

    April 11, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. larry

    nice blanket statement -

    March 1, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. G

    prima donna...

    March 1, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mike

    pre-madonna? try prima donna

    March 1, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Murkinator

    its hard to be angry with aa troll who thinks primadona was something about being "pre-"Madonna.

    March 1, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Wert

    Murkinator's comment may be the funniest I've ever read.

    March 1, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jack

    It's actually prima donna...

    March 1, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ryan

    John, you're an idiot.

    March 1, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Earthling

    Pre-madonna? You frickin tard.

    March 1, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Travis

    I'm sure before Madonna came along someone was kicking owls anyways.

    March 1, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. BobbyV

    The owl was post-madonna.

    March 1, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. post-madonna

    haha, reason numero uno why you don't use your real name on here. What a moron. john murkin, haha, you are truly stupid.

    March 1, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. mobrule

    all soccer players were around before madonna? did not know that.

    March 1, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
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