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. AntiPalinAlaskan

    Oh well, at least he didn't score an "own goal" with the owl. Colombian birdwatchers will shoot you for that.

    March 1, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. WaitWhat

    Read the story people. The owl is not dead. Not even any fractures. I don't condone any sort of animal cruelty but it looked to me like he was just trying to get it off the field. I've seen a great horned owl pick up a chihuahua and carry it off. No way in hell I would use my hands to pick it up. And if it's so precious why are they letting the damn thing fly on the field during a game.

    March 1, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • me too

      read the story the owl is dead

      March 1, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      Reading comprehension much there, WaitWhat? Fourth paragraph from the bottom ("Fourth" means the number four, which is this many: * * * * ) reads "the owl died early Tuesday of respiratory arrest." The word "owl" means the animal that the guy kicked, and "died" means that the owl... oh nevermind, dude, you're on your own.

      March 1, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. pesoconverter

    for all those who said 50,000 pesos does not equal $26: this is a Columbian league, hence Columbian pesos. so yes, 50,000 Columbian pesos equals $26.

    March 1, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Colombian

      it's spelled ColOmbian not columbian!

      March 1, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sebastian

    I can't belive this!!!
    I realy CAN"T BELIVE THIS!!!!!

    March 1, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Drew Osborne

    A person who interferes at a sporting event usually faces far worse discipline.. The bird should know not to run on the pitch..

    March 1, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jill

    Typical South and Central American culture of cruelty and barbarism towards animals. Another reason why these countries will never be civilized; they have no souls, no compassion. As Gandhi said, you can judge the moral progress of a nation BY THE WAY ITS ANIMALS ARE TREATED. Enough said.
    And why do they have animals as mascots. ANother example of their stupidity.

    March 1, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • whoanelly!

      Gandhi said you judge the progress of a country by the way they treat their weakest citizens... I am guessing you don't eat poultry?

      March 1, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Brian

    That's just terrible. They should kick this guy where it hurts most and see how he likes it.

    March 1, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. C

    "was not his intention to harm the bird." Um, what? That does not seem right.

    When someone is heartless enough to do this act in front of others, you know they have to chill out. Even if you don't like what animals rights groups fight for, consider this–people who care for the welfare of animals to some extent care about people. Not saying the hunter, dog-hitter will beat humans, but it is more likely. This connection has been made by many and I have witnessed such people myself. I'd be worried about spending much time with this footballer alone. Even if the bird is OK, that does not make this OK.

    March 1, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Oh the horror...

    Gee...I wonder if all the faked outrage I read on here is coming from vegetarians...if not...kinda hypocritical...next time you eat some meat, just remember how "outraged" you were at this.

    March 1, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • really??

      Your point doesnt make sense. Yeah, I consume meat for nourishment, but this guy harmed another animal for no apparent reason. Any dignified person, meat eater or vegan would know the difference.

      March 1, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dana

      Was he planning to eat the owl? I must have missed that.

      March 1, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dave

    I feel like chicken tonight...chic chic chic chicken tonight night night.

    March 1, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. j

    Saw the video, definitely was not a gentle kick, the guy was callous and cruel.

    March 1, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Biff

    I don't think he killed the bird. It was the ball that killed the bird. That's why it was stunned after getting hit with the ball. He didn't kick it with all his might. It was a rather slow kick the looked intended to remove the bird from the field.

    March 1, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dana

      Who kicks an injured animal? And who defends someone who kicks an injured animal? Psychopaths.

      March 1, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • JdJ

      Or maybe it was the sedation that killed the owl. It did die of respiratory failure with no broken bones...

      March 1, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. D.Baker

    They should let it slide. That owl looks exactly like a soccer ball.

    March 1, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ben

    godzilla

    March 1, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bryant

    Feel bad for the bird and this Soccer player should have known better but it does not appear he meant it serious harm but to move it off the field. Hard to tell how hard he kicked the defenseless owl but apparently it was hard enough to kill it :-P

    March 1, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
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