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. STFU!!!


    March 1, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bob

    My question is: After the guy kicked the bird, did he fall on the ground, cry hysterically and claim the bird kicked him?

    March 1, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Adrian

    Perhaps we all should try out if kicking this footballer (soccerplayer) to see if he can think, walk, fly or even has brains! At least kick him into jail, for more then 3 YEARS please!

    March 1, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. STFU!!!

    What this report does not factually capture is the fact that Owl's friend Pooh-Bear taped a "Kick-Me" sign to owl's underside. So when the player came up to gently lift him to safety, he saw the sign and was basically forced to comply. Pooh Bear and Hugo Chavez are tight...

    March 1, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. maximus

    the guy scored a gowl!

    March 1, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |


    March 1, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Getoverit

    Seriously? It was a stupid bird on the pitch. How can you play soccer with dead or dying animals on the field. I would have kicked it off too.

    March 1, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |

    What if the bird was a pigeon? Would people still react the same way?

    March 1, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      No they wouldn't but maybe mike Tyson can shared the love of pigeons.

      March 1, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alexa

      Pigeons are Doves, I think people would care. And Rats are actually pretty cute if your not sharing your kitchen or yard with them.

      March 2, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mmmmm

    It's just a bird. What's the difference between kickin' an owl and kickin' the bucket???

    You live to talk about it! Heh-heh-hee!

    March 1, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jonny

    the footballer should be killed.

    March 1, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mari

    This is soooo silly. WHY was the owl on the field in the first place. I mean last time I checked a bird can't contribute to the fancy foot work, no headers! I am sorry, I believe in respecting wildlife BUT am I going to get charged in there is a bird in the road and I hit it??? Maybe there should have kept it in a cage on the side of the field!!! This just as dumb as the lady who bought the sun and wants to charge us all for usage!

    March 1, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Luce

    What a creep. Hope he serves a long stint in jail and gets proper mental treatment...someone with issues like that should NOT be playing football. Next time he'll get angry and kick a human to death.

    March 1, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. chris

    well I saw owl was helpless and harmless. that's really sad because most people don't know what is owl look a like and sound owl the voice. Other day I park my car at work early in the morning just before sun rise I got out of my car and heard the owl voice for about 1 minute. It was so awsome the sound. That's what God create animals for us to see and hear!!

    March 1, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tommy

      Well said! I agree!

      March 4, 2011 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
  14. Mari


    March 1, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Carlton

    The world is so full of sick idiots!!! Jail over a stupid bird?

    March 1, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
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