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. Ren

    There are loads of people at the side lines making sure every part of the game goes smoothly. Any one of them could have hopped over and removed the stunned bird from the field. Kicking it was kind of really unnecessary. :/

    Besides. Expecting the animal to take flight after it was hit by a ball is... WELL. It's not very rational.
    Not the best move, Moreno.

    March 2, 2011 at 1:27 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alicia Ziff

      ‎What I don't get in any of these concerned and outraged comments is a questioning of the Junior team's responsibility. Yes, of course it's stupid and mean behavior to kick an owl while(I'm assuming) on an adrenalin/testosterone rush... but isn't it *equally* stupid to have put this creature anywhere near to this situation in the first place? Or, for that matter to have live animals mascots at all? It seems to me that owls should be sleeping in the daytime...in a forest.

      March 6, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. googlyeyes

    the illuminati will get him for kicking their sacred mascot!

    March 2, 2011 at 2:16 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Mike Laroue

    If soccer is to be considered any more of a "sport" than bullfighting, the owl-kicker will never be allowed on the field again.

    March 2, 2011 at 2:54 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. anna

    It was shocking how that man behaved. To some its just a bird, that's true.No one is contesting it....hahaha. We are not trying to turn into vegatarians here. The point is Moreno's behavior is just unacceptable. The reaction it elicited from the crowd was collective. It's not overreacting. They were horrified.

    It is a game, the bird landed and got hit, too bad for the owl, wrong place at the wrong time. But it did not deserve to be kicked. It doesn't matter if the people around didn't act quickly to remove the bird from the field. The referee already stopped the game. What is odd is Moreno's idea of helping remove what he finds an obstruction to the continuity of the game. That is shocking. What is even more shocking is his pathetic excuse. You would believe that if you hear it from child not from an adult.

    March 2, 2011 at 4:40 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Melissa Viau

      And other animals don't deserve to be enslaved and killed for the unnecessary uses of non-vegans.

      March 2, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. I HATE THIS GUY

    This made me rage.

    March 2, 2011 at 6:54 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Poindexter McSmash

    His wife and kids were not around, so he had to kick something...

    March 2, 2011 at 7:57 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. NE Mama

    He should go to jail. What a sick man.

    March 2, 2011 at 8:47 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Melissa Viau

    Odd that kicking a owl can result in jail time, but enslaving, exploiting, torturing, and killing a cow is perfectly fine to the majority. Human society is severely plagued by moral schizophrenia.
    I'm sure most people that chanted "murderer" are not vegan. ALL sentient beings are persons with interests of their own, whether human, owl, dog, cat, cow, chicken, or pig. All sentient beings have the right to not be treated as property and subjected to unnecessary violence at our hands. The owl valued his/her life, but so too do the animals we enslave and kill for flesh, eggs, milk, clothing, and animal tested products.

    March 2, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alexa

      Can we just focus on one thing at a time instead of trying to cure all the worlds problems? Lets focus on the evil person who killed this animal, and not confuse the subject and turn the rest of the carnivore world against, well, against vegetarians. Baby steps...

      March 2, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barbara

      The owl wasn't a vegan either. If you can't see the difference between senseless cruelty and eating or getting et, which is a fact of life for all living creatures, then you are as clueless as the sociopaths who say 'Get over it – it's just a bird!'

      March 5, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marshanna

      Here, here! You are so right about ALL the animals deserving so much better - I couldn't agree more! As for the rest that think it's okay to kill anything: research selective reasoning.

      April 1, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Karloz

    Now let see if he spend any time in jail? This man has no concience..

    March 2, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Alexa

    I think we should throw this player on the field, kick him as hard as we can across it and see how it feels. Disgusting, there should be consequences. I’m sure this guy has abused other animals before too.

    March 2, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. wild man

    animals are not human and should not be treated as such. MMMMMMMMMM Eat more chicken, beef, pork, fish, more meat please

    March 2, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. A**hole

    If I ever come acros this duma** soccerplayer, I'm going to take my bat and whack him so hard in the balls and dick.

    March 2, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. terezia

    what a f.. cruel man!!!
    why was it necessary?

    March 3, 2011 at 6:43 am | Report abuse | Reply
  14. israel

    i suggest that when you go to jail, you ask the biggest inmate to kick your rear so that you can fly out of it and if it doesn't start all over again.....Ignorant.

    March 3, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Tommy

    Lower the jail house on this jerk! This is so inhuman and cruel! That poor owl laying there helpless! Cruel cruel person!!! I say a $$$$$ fine and heavy jail time and maybe in there someone will give him a swift kick.

    March 4, 2011 at 1:58 am | Report abuse | Reply
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