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. Tommy

    He is an inhuman monster! Lower down the jail house! Poor helpless owl. How could anyone live with themselves doing this?

    March 4, 2011 at 2:21 am | Report abuse |
  2. FedUp

    Ok after reading all the comments I still don't understand how anyone with a heart could say it's just a bird! I mean if someone in your family was hurting and another came up and kicked him/her 98% of the world don't know your family member should we all just say oh well it's not one of my family so who cares? It's disgusting that there is so little regard to life ... no matter if it be human or animal. And to answer a few comments YES I would still care if it was a pigeon on the field!

    March 4, 2011 at 7:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. Noneissue

    This is such a non issue, I would not have kicked the owl but to be honest I could care less about animals. This is a gross overreaction. How about we get this worked up about the hundreds of " humans" being killed in Libya. But of course we won't because animals are clearly more important.
    SAD!!!!

    March 4, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Noneissue

    Ozzie Osborn bit the head off of a dove, Randy Johnson hit a seagull with a baseball, and this morning you ate bacon from a pig who was slaughtered... Oh the humanity

    March 4, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Owl Lover

    What a shame! Everyone does things out of anger every once in a while, but he made a major mistake by kicking the owl. We all must remember that animals have feelings, too. If you don't know that then you need to spend some time in nature. There's an amazing world out there away from your computer screens.

    March 5, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Teresa Smelser

    I`m a federally-licensed wildlife rehabilitator,specializing in birds,and what that man did was flat out animal cruelty.If it did show respiratory damage on autopsy,it was because he ruptured it`s air sacs.Then it died from the stress of being injured,which happens frequently with birds.They get a surge of stress hormones that gives them heart failure.All somebody had to do was drop a blanket or shirt over it and remove it to be taken to the vet when it was initially hit by the ball.It did NOT have to die.
    Authorities should be checking on this guy`s wife,kids,and pets.If he can so casually stride over and boot this bird off the field like it was a piece of trash,he is acting like this in everyday life as well.He has done this before to someone or something to not think twice about it.His apologies and the meager penalties they put on him are disgusting to me.I hope this incident follows him the rest of his life and he will NEVER be known for being a decent athlete.

    March 5, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. AnnDe in Virginia

    There is absolutely no excuse for kicking the bird "to see ifit could fly" –
    BUT what the heck was the owl doing flying around in the playing area, anywya?

    There is NO EXCUSE FOR HANDLING A WILD BIRD IN THIS MANNER.
    I'm not unfeeling about what happened, but whomever put the owl in this position of vulnerability should be in jail.

    March 5, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ann Marie Reed

    I am absolutely outraged that he would kick any living thing. Maybe everyone should have kicked him.

    March 5, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. DeeDi

    Kick the bird to see if it could fly? Why doesn't someone kick this guy in the nuts the next time he's down to see if he's still able to run. The owl was beautiful and harmless, poor thing.

    March 5, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. TG

    If a camera man had dropped his camera onto the field and Moreno had walked over and kicked the camera, in the US he would be guilty of felony vandalism of property and could be punished by 5 years in prison. Even if you don't believe the crime is worse because it is deliberate unnecessary cruelty inflicted to an animal, and you view animals as merely material items, he still committed a felony by destroying property.

    March 6, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Arthur

    Just another thug athlete, what do you expect intelligence?

    March 6, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tina

    Where was the person that is in charge of the owl? Why was the owl on the field? Shouldn't have someone been watching out for their mascot? How pathetic, if they cared so much for the owl they should have been taking care of it in the first place. I don't condone the kicking of the owl, but come on watch your owl!!!

    March 8, 2011 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  13. WAZZAP

    not cool man. what if an owls were ten feet tall and they came over to you and gave you and slapped you across the face with a wing? After slapping you, the owl would just hoot," I was trying to see how much he would spin before he fell to the ground?" Didn't think so Moreno. you could have just picked it up or shooed it off the field. if that owl was here and alive, it would be pecking you half to death.

    March 9, 2011 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
  14. WAZZAP

    dont kill owlz man

    March 9, 2011 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
  15. Little Feather

    You need to JAIL this jerk! And, if you do, I truly hope he gets the crap beaten out of him!!!!!

    March 11, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
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