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. Frank

    Kicking owls... no longer just a euphamism.

    March 1, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Hammer Time

    what about the ball that creamed this bird to begin with, i guess the owl would have survived that......... the guy kicked a dying bird off the field, i feel that the other team is responsible for its death in that they should have had control of the animal. oh well, not my bird, i'm gonna go beat off now!

    March 1, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dirty Harry

    To the Person "me too": STFU. You are making one too many posts defending felons and such while at the same time telling people feeling for the dead bird to chill the f out. Seriously, STFU!!!

    March 1, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dave

    Kick the soccer player to death. Seriously, why should such depraved hearts remain a part of our society? "I'll take the penalty" is his excuse for killing? Gheeeeez.

    March 1, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dana

      translation: "I make enough money to do what I want".

      March 1, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jo

    To say animals have no feelings, you do not know animals. All animals have feeling. Not all have emotions. About half do. (Unlike most humans) that is how they nurture. Regardless, any harm to a helpless animal just shows what a low individual you are.

    March 1, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. S. Surrell

    Maybe next time Luis Moreno is down on the field, it would be OK for an opposing team member to gently kick his head off the field.

    March 1, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. john

    "first off, the bird didn't die from trauma, it died from illness. second, the guy didn't kick the bird, he scooped it off the field. watch the video. it may, and i stress, may have been a bad choice, but it's not as if he kicked the thing off the pitch.

    March 1, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Chirag

    A great raja once said that we should not kill animals. That because they are helpless and there are no consequences to our actions our true human nature shows when we hurt animals. Shame on you Moreno.....

    March 1, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. John C

    Folks, a domesticated animal does not lay face down on an active playing field in the mist of thousands of screaming people. The owl was laying, helpless, because he/she was already dying. The local examiner concluded that the owl was dying of a disease probably from unfit captivity. The soccer player, while stupid, isn't thte criminal here.

    March 1, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chirag

      If someone has cancer and you kill them isnt it should rethink your stance on this issue

      March 1, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dana

    This guy and the guy who killed the trees in Alabama can go to hell together.

    March 1, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jason B.

    Seriously? $26? Wow...he might have to skip a whole meal at a nice restaurant. I do have to ask though, what the heck was the bird doing on the field anyway?

    March 1, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Brian

    Takes a big man to take out a 5 pound bird.

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

    He needs a sell with Michael Vick. And I never thought I'd say it, but Vick isn't in the league this lowlife is.

    March 1, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Edward Nashville, TN

    It never ceases to amaze me how little people care about animals. Its just a bird AR says, but it still can experience pain even if it is not as smart as a human being. People forget we too are animals, we may be the most intelligent species on the planet, but we are often the most cruel as well.

    March 1, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Angry black man

    you damned white people, are so freaking outrage that a black man kicked a freaking bird, u devils believe a black man should die for kicking a freaking bird, give me a break and spare me your fake outrage, why on earth should any human being go to jail for killing an animal.

    March 1, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dirty Harry

      OK, he should first be feathered and tarred and then sent to jail. Less angry now?!

      March 1, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • koonsoup


      March 1, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sipistoo

      I had to respond to your post – I could feel the heaviness of your hate (a huge burden to carry) and wanted to reach out to you. I am Blackfeet (Indigenous-Aboriginal-First Nation) and I am very sad that he kicked the owl. I don’t think race plays a role in who is or isn’t experiencing outrage. I made the mistake of watching the video – the owl looked up at him before he/she was kicked. It was horrible. I can’t erase the image out of my mind. It made me cry.

      I am sorry that the owl died. I am sorry that the owl – already in pain – was brutally attacked. I am sorry for Moreno that he was raised to believe that any of the Creators creations are ours to abuse or terrorize.

      “Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” Chief Seattle

      Angry Black Man. I hope you can find some inner peace brother – we are all ‘One Tribe.’ Unlighted your load and learn to love all. I have one last quote :

      “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

      March 2, 2011 at 1:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Tommy

      I dont care what color he was, I dont care if he was as white as a sheet, this was wrong and inhuman and should be punished!!! CRUEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      March 4, 2011 at 2:05 am | Report abuse |
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