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. SirGalton

    Well, he technically did not kill the owl... The owl more than likely died as a result of the drugs used for sedation. The kick also had much less of an impact as the initial blow by the ball when it was being cleared out of play.

    March 1, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. steveo

    It's time to ban football cleats! If the playere were wearing normal sandals or flip flops the bird would still be alive.


    March 1, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ian

      That would be hilarious. Watching them try to get footing in grass and kick a ball in flip flops. All right, I'll cosign this one. I want to see this happen now.

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

      I think we should go the other direction with this one and ban owls....

      March 1, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Cesar

    But Tim, isn't the $4,139 for Mexico's peso, not Columbia's peso?

    March 1, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. reason's playmate

    Okay folks, let's get this straight. He kicked a BIRD, right?? He did not "win the ball, clear it" then go and brain an opposing player with his cleats. Can we please give this story the 22.5 seconds of thought it deserves and then focus on more important matters – like maybe the hundreds of Libyans being injured and killed by Qaddafi's oppressive regime?! Give me a break.

    March 1, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dana

      You know something? I feel it is the same thing in humans that leads them to kick an injured animal that leads them to subjugate and murder other humans, like in Libya. There is a story to be told here, and if you don't like it, then why did you take the time to click, read, and comment?

      March 1, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • ilovebarnowls

      yes it was a bird but instead of kicking to see if it could fly he could have alerted the referees and stopped the game so they could get it off the field. they are endangered in some parts of the world u know(barn owl)

      September 10, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Moocow

    26 dollars??? I'll pay four times that if I can also be allowed to kick this guy in the head.

    March 1, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • NYPrincessTt

      I'll pay 5 times that to be allowed to kick the opposing team's owl.

      March 1, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. reason's playmate

    Even better, all soccer/football games and tournaments should be played within the safe and bird-free confines of a foosball table.

    March 1, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. RichGirl

    This fat tub of lard (tard) was probably trying to eat the poor owl and I hope he gets a wild card up the rear in jail.

    March 1, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimmy90210

      Obviously you didn't see the video, so stop talking about what you don't know about idiot! He didn't kick the owl, he lift it up with his feet. It always people like you that are deforming reality in trying to convince people about things that's far from what really happened!

      March 1, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Haighy

      What are you talking about "JIMY" did you watch the video? Most people would pick up a bird or any other small animal that got beaned with a ball 20 sec earlier, this guy kiicked that bird! I hope you dont own any animals!

      March 1, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • krashundburn

      He kicked the bird. You can't sugarcoat what we all saw.

      March 1, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • NYPrincessTt

      So he is kind of jerk for kicking the bird. I'll give you that. You are wishing for him to be violated and sodomized. What does that make you?

      March 1, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • TCP

      Spread the word to end the word.

      March 1, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Woolsworth

    @'s COLOMBIAN pesos so 50,000 does exchange to $26. See for yourself:

    March 1, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. amy

    poor owl 🙁 lived the sad life of a captive, living mascot then gets kicked and dies.

    March 1, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. John

    Owl doesn't belong on the field. Owl gets hit by the ball that's natural selection. I would have kicked the owl off the field too and kept playing. Randy Johnson didn't get fined for killing that bird with a pitch. This guy should get a warning and move on. If the Columbian team doesn't want their bird hurt tie it up or keep it in a cage.

    March 1, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Haighy

      Randy Johnson and this owl have nothing to do with each other. The Owl like that bird happen to be there at the wrong time. The bird is not a team owned mascot, it is one of many owls that live at the stadium "naturally". getting kicked by the ball is one thing but going out of your way to walk 30 feet back to a helpless bird who was prob concussed at that point to wind up and kick it is another! He was not trying to help that bird what so ever! Most people would prob bend over and cradle the bird to remove it... not penalty kick it!

      March 1, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Owl


    March 1, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ian

    Once again, everything associated with soccer is more interesting than the game itself. And I like the World Cup, but for all the wrong reasons. I like the flag waving, crowd songs, watching it at the bar in the morning, yadda yadda yadda. The game itself though is really lacking.

    March 1, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. dike

    That bird did bring luck to the other team even though it gave its life for it..
    Do the players get paid in Pesos...
    I dont trust the vets either.... if the life of the bird is worth $26 the care must be worth lower...
    the bird should not have been in the field
    The player showed his true color
    everyone has his/her vices if shown to public is condemnable by one group or another including non vegetarians...
    so give it a break and go on with the game and dont bring animals to the field...

    March 1, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Lizzy

    I wish people would leave animals alone and just beat up one another. Poor owl. This world blows... big time.

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

      One reason 'this world blows' is because of people who care more about animals than other people. If you had the same compassion for homeless, starving orphans as you do for this (wild) bird, perhaps you could make the world 'blow' a bit less by doing something constructive. Or, perhaps you think commenting on this owl incident and how bad the world is can be counted as doing your part.

      March 1, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lizzy

    John, let me know if you ever have a pet so I can run it's head over with my truck, sweeeeeet.

    March 1, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      I have 2 dogs and if I was dumb enough to let one run our in front of your car, I wouldn't blame you for hitting it. No if he ran onto the sidelines where a responsible owner would keep their pet and then kicked it, i'd understand the anger.

      March 1, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
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