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. maX

    I wonder how Michael Vick Feels about all this?

    March 1, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • lolumad

      Michael Vick loves owls.

      March 1, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      Micheal Vick would attach wires to the Owl's testicals and kick it into a pool of water to teach it a lesson for being such a wuss and not tearing that soccer player's eyes out after being kicked.

      March 1, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Owls

    Owls can tell the future. This owl had the choice to land anywhere on the immense soccer field but chose the only part of the field that would cause his collision with the ball. He also foreshadowed being kicked by Pereira for getting hit with the ball. This owl died for all of our sins. Hooo.

    March 1, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mohamad

    Deisy perdon pero me estaban insultando no soy una mala persona al contrario yo soy demasiado bueno

    March 1, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JoeyB

    No jail time needed, instead someone from PETA should kick this guy in the groin for a distance of about 3 yards, we'll interview him a week later and see how well he fared and if the lesson was helpful.

    March 1, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Smoove

    This may be off topic but that's the fattest soccer player I've ever seen!!!

    March 1, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. owlvan

    the bird should not have been on the pitch. who ever brought it should be fined and prosecuted. It's obviously not a very lucky owl.

    March 1, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. guest 222

    I'd say 3 months in prison is a just punishment, and if were lucky he'll get a good beating in there to really learn a good lesson in compassion. Animal or not.

    March 1, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • McGuffin

      Ha, I kind of agree with you, but it's odd to see "lesson in compassion" and "I hope he'll get a beating" in the same sentence...

      March 1, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. aleXTC

    um..... 50,000 pesos is not $26.00 USD its closer to $4200.00 USD

    March 1, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Colombian're wrong....they're not mexican pesos, they have a different exchange rate.

      March 1, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sammy Z

    Who Dat? Who Dat?

    Who Dat big jerk dat be kickin dem owls?

    March 1, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bradley

    Well, I think the only fair solution is to find an animal proprtionately larger than him as he was the owl (elephant?), then have that animal kick this guy as hard as it can. He walks away from it, cool. If he doesn't, well, whatever's whatever.

    What's with all this sympathy for textbook sociopaths lately anyway?

    March 1, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. nevermind

    Nothing should be kicked while laying there injured, human or animal. This is sad.

    March 1, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Current Topic

    He did it to see if the owl could fly?

    March 1, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. The Owl's friend

    Some of these comments are sooo freaking funny. People lighten up. Yes it's wrong to hurt animals but those who are making amusing comments are just trying to have a lighted heart conversation. It's really not that big of a deal to make a couple jokes.

    March 1, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Richard Lu

    I find it justifiable to hit someone your size, Hitting another human being is not such a big me. Getting hurt makes you stronger and puts you in your place. However...Hitting animals a fraction of you size just shows the kind of man you are. Ironically ppl care more about ppl anyway. Viruses always condone and look out for there own. So I know theres confusion whether ppl support my statement or not. Think deep about it....

    March 1, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. You'reSoRight

    Has everyone failed to realize that the bird died from a respiratory issue that it was already suffering from? Granted, the ball hitting it or the kick probably didn't help it much. But the heart of the matter is the damn bird was on it's death bed, hence why it was laying so pathetically on the field and maybe all the animal activists should stop freaking out on the player and focus on the club that kept it in such poor conditions.

    March 1, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
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