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. Owl

    Death Penalty!

    March 1, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Calm down

    No, he shouldn't have kicked the bird, but he was in the middle of a match, probably angry and filled with adrenaline, and wanted the game to continue. The bird was on the field, so he removed it. Not the best decision, but again, in the heat of the moment, it's rather understandable. The bird didn't die because he kicked it.

    A poor decision, yes, but not something to "kick [him] to death", or jail him over.

    March 1, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. John

    This guy is too stupid to breath. He needs to be kicked by something 1,000 times bigger than him then fined then put in jail. There is simply no excuse for that kind of stupidity and cruelty.

    March 1, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Lila

    The owl looked injured from the ball and he did add to the injuries by kicking him. He should NEVER have touched the other team's mascot anyway HUGE mistake. Should have let someone, the caretaker or a vet, from that team move the injured owl. The fans will never let this go. Also animals have no business being mascots and being on a field during a game, that's animal cruelty too. Most animals are terrified of the noise and lights.

    March 1, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. GokTurk

    26 bucks to kick an owl...not a bad deal.

    March 1, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonathan

      26 bucks AND jail time. He gets both.

      March 1, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Atomic Mom

    Studies have shown that sociopaths, psychopaths, and killers started by tearing the wings off insects and torturing animals. This guy's attorney wrote his apology, proof is Moreno's apology that he kicked the bird to see if it would fly – AFTER it was stunned by a ball?? Put him behind bars. There are too many animals out there playing professional sports getting away with reckless and irresponsible behavior, getting paid all the while. They have no regard for anyone but themselves and being in the moment. Our kids are watching these games. Have a heart.

    March 1, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • David Cox

      Give me a break. You dont hear people chanting murderer, murderer when you to KFC to order a bucket of chicken.

      March 1, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • ModernEarthling

      I agree. Kids should also be aware of the consequences; jail time. A good example for all.

      March 1, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • JB

      Reeeeelax psycho. Talk about overreaction. You probably have another username called "helicopter mom" and "outraged mom" and "think about the kids! mom"

      March 1, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • charlieblu

      Good grief lady, go get a massage or go fishing.

      March 1, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • electricfeel

      its just a bird.........

      March 1, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pixiegirl

      I hope someone kicks him to death in prison.

      March 1, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Human

      I agree with you 100%. Don't be detracted by those who disagree with you. The true animals of this world are those who have no respect for life whether it be human or animal. "People" tend toforget humans are just another species of animal. It's scary how people are being socialzed, and the negative comments reveal so much how about people handle themselves in all their relationships/interactions.

      March 2, 2011 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Commonsenseplease

      To everyone who said "It's just a bird"....
      And you're just an idiot.

      that was a vicious, mean kick from a POS, sore loser cretin to a helpless animal.
      On the other hand, maybe a kick to YOUR head would awaken your brains.

      March 7, 2011 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
  7. Tom

    who's gives hoot about this thug!! No Pun intented

    March 1, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • dalri

      i see wut u done did thur...

      March 1, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • jaquan

      i think that you did intead that punn.

      March 2, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jerry

    Idiota falta de cerebro y de sentimientos ojala que la justicia haga algo en contra de este tipo sin sentimientos y sin cerebro y que esto se le regrese de una manera negativa para su vida. Tenemos que ser mas humanitarios y tratar de ser mejores cada dia tratando de componer este mundo, uniendonos todos y desechando LAS RATAS DE ESTE MUNDO de ese modo nuestro mundo sera mejor en todos los aspectos.

    March 1, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • bob

      i agree

      March 1, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dana

      Las ratas también tienen sentimientos. Es peor que una rata.

      March 1, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bumblebee Man

      Ai ai ai! No es bueno! El taco es loco! Ai ai ai!

      March 2, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bette

    What a tough guy...kicking a miniature creature of the are a total looser fella...

    March 1, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Shak

    Says a lot about CNN for putting this up as 'news.' And says a lot about our country for making it one of the top 4 popular stories today...

    March 1, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shinea

      What does it say?

      March 1, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. BuzzMann

    Give a hoot,Not a boot.

    March 1, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Confrustrated

    This has me more worked up than anything I've read on CNN in a long time. Which is actually kind of sad.

    March 1, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Barqench

    You need to kick an owl 18 feet to see if it could fly?? Bullsh**!! This guy is a loser and deserves whatever he gets.

    March 1, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. UpsetAboutPoorOwl

    Dear Mr. Owl-kicker,
    You are just a mean owl-kicker. You kicked a poor owl. Would you like it if an owl did that to you? I hope every owl hates you. I hate you Mr. Owl-kicker. Who taught you how to play such mean tricks with little owls? You said you just wanted to see if it could fly, well maybe you are an idiot.

    March 1, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. dick

    Ggggggggggggooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllllll. Haha.

    March 2, 2011 at 1:22 am | Report abuse |
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