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. Mary H

    @ lizzy so agreed, lets just get rid of all the other ppl

    March 1, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Doug

    50,000 pesos is only $26. You would think Mexicans would be better at math.

    The entire event was funny. Reminds me of the protests in Libia and when people complain why they get shot.

    March 1, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • wsj

      Yes, because this clearly took place in Mexico.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Annon

      What an idiot. Learn your countries.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Carlos

    Not saying that was he did was right but the owl shouldn't have been there. They're nocturnal creatures and I'm sure all those lights weren't advantageous for it.

    March 1, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. orchid

    That is so sad. Poor little owl. I hope they teach this guy a lesson about not messing with God's little creatures.

    March 1, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Carlos

    OH...he apologized! NEXT

    March 1, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ssk

    How sad. That team should be fined for letting him fly free Рhe was bound to get hurt eventually. The poor thing was just laying there on its back Рan Atlético player should have moved it to the sideline safely since it was their mascot. And to those defending Moreno Рthat was clearly a kick and not a "shovel" or any other claim of assistance. What a pr*ck.

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

      the owls live within the stadium on their own they are not a mascott. I think they have a shark as a mascott. Same thing when a pidgeon lands on a field during an NFL game. The bird isnt a mascott its just their.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Carlos you drive? If so you mess with "God's little creatures" EVERYDAY

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

      Orchid means, God's pretty little creatures.

      March 1, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • WHAT?

      Oh please! I'd swerve to avoid a rabid pigeon and run over a person before I'd kill an animal!

      March 1, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Brian

    What would make soccer better, Ian? Full body contact? Commercial breaks? Cheerleaders? Enlighten us?

    March 1, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Owl Lover Killer HATER

    That guy should face life in prison!
    Owls are so cute.....

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

      Yes life in prison for kicking a bird....that seems logical.

      March 1, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • I don't know, BUT

      I think your anger should be projected onto the Vet because that kick didn't kill the owl.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • NYPrincessTt

      "owls are so cute"?!
      So are human babies. They get abused and neglected and killed by their own parents everyday all around the world. Go find an article about THAT and direct your outrage at something that really matters.

      March 1, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Laura

    What was this article about again? I got totally sidetracked by his thighs!

    March 1, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. TRINA

    The soccer player is a moron. It was NOT his duty to clear the owl from the field. He should be fined for getting involved. Grrrrrrrrrr!

    March 1, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Reybear

    Apologize, and replace their OWL with a PARROT.

    All is good in the world of Soccer.

    March 1, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      This is an ex-owl.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tony

    loool kicking the owl off field. dude whats wrong with you look at ur self then look at the owl does it deserve to get kicked what is this world coming to.
    i knw in some countries they believe the owl is bad news but i dont knw about colombia.

    March 1, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. The Ghost of Owl

    I have returned to haunt you all. HOOT! HOOT! Mwoohahahahahahahah!

    March 1, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. alexash

    I blame the ball

    March 1, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • NRA

      Feet don't kill Owls. Balls kill Owls.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gross

      @ NRA:
      That can be taken in so many different ways....

      March 1, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
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