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. Jinda

    That is one fat, inbred slob!

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

      Who? The owl?

      March 1, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. CDP of SLP

    Dick move.

    March 1, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. hey

    yall are stupid

    March 1, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • wsj

      Yes, you and your family are.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. CHKY

    Owl be back...

    March 1, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Where is P.E.T.A.

    Another reason why soccor will NEVER catch on in the states.

    March 1, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Polka Dot

    They don't even go to jail that long for beating thier wives and girlfriends. Hell they don't go to jail that long for kicking each other. smh. Animal cruelty is wrong but lets be real everyone and thing is not defended to that capacity.

    March 1, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • NYPrincessTt

      Thank you. A little logic goes a long way. Animal cruelty is wrong, but it was an OWL. People don't get this worked up about child abusers .

      March 1, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Where is P.E.T.A.

    Another reason why Soccer will NEVER catch on in the States.

    March 1, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. really?!

    It is just a f-ing owl.... no one should be jailed for kicking or killing an owl.

    March 1, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Haighy

      it's called cruelty to animals. look it up. doesn't matter what it was, it was a poor decision and he should pay for. Show a little respect!

      March 1, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • wsj

      You are just a f-ing human. No one should be jailed for kicking, hitting or killing you, either.


      March 1, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Die

      No OWL would ever wish death on you! Only filthy, disgusting, blood-thirsty humans are to blame for every freaking problem on the Earth. Humans should die off and let the animals live in peace.. oh and me of course. LOL

      March 1, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Morbo

      @wsj Indeed Morbo agrees.

      March 1, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Haighy

    This guy is an idiot! I hope he ends up having to do countless hours of service for this and huge fines! What kind of person does that? I am surprised none of the opposing team kicked his butt after that!

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

    he barely even kicked it. more like put his foot under it and flicked it. no harm done.

    btw that fine of $26 is kind of hilarious. Heck, I'd foot that fine for him if he can't pay it.

    suck it PETA freaks

    March 1, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • wsj

      Interesting comment coming from someone who put gerbils up their rear end as a teenager.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jimvsmij

    The bird was obviously hurt. No matter what his excuse there is no reason for him to have used his foot instead of getting on his hands and knees and examining if the bird can be safely moved without further damage. If he himself was laying on the field with multiple shattered bones and possible ruptured organs would he want to be moved in such a manor?
    I think not! This monster deserves sever punishment.

    March 1, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • ginamero

      Do you have any IDEA how strong the beak grip of an owl is? That beak is specifically made to tear flesh, not carress it. Owls do not see well in light and it was probably blinded and swooped down near the field....all accidents....accept for the vet that oversedated the should NEVER sedate a's so dangerous because they are so sensitive.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dtcpr

    I'm not saying it's okay to intentionally hurt animals, but, what about the soccer ball hitting the owl, it had a lot of speed when it hit the owl. I mean isn't it partially the fault of the Atletico Junior club since they keep an Owl in a soccer stadium where it could potentially do such things as land on the field and be hit with a ball or a person accidently run into it (not what the guy did, i know that).

    March 1, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimvsmij

      Yeah but it is one thing for your pet to die because you are stupid than to go after an injured animal with intent to further that damage. It is like me accidentally throwing a ball to my dog where he jumps for it and falls off a steep ledge then while he is at the bottom of the hill with two shattered legs and 4 broken ribs someone comes along and smashes his skull with a rock. Yeah, my bad because of taking him to play catch in a dangerous location but the second person is a whole other level of bad.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • fred

      except what you wrote jimvsmij is such an extraordinary exaggeration of what happened it doesn't actually pertain, it'd be like someone moving your dog, and then it died from the broken leg.

      March 1, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimvsmij

      ok fine, someone kicks my poor injured dog the equivalent of 5 of his body lengths. How does that make the person less evil??

      March 1, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. The Masked Avenger

    Stupid Hogwarts wizards, letting their owls go wherever they please.

    March 1, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ginamero

    Birds, especially birds of prey are extremely sensetive to sedation. That owl died of respiratory arrest from being over sedated at the had nothing to do with the players handling of the bird.

    March 1, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Captain_Colossal

      wrong. you must be his girlfriend or something. i am entirely positive that the brutal kick i saw on youTube had something to do with the birds death.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimvsmij

      So say it wasn't an owl but instead your kid. If your kid didn't die due to over sedation, this guy didn't do anything wrong???

      March 1, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. madbird

    well, what if the bird flew into his eye and he died? would the bird get jail time? what a story !!! .. lol

    March 1, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimvsmij

      humans routinely hunt down and kill any animals that kills humans: bears, cougars, great white sharks...

      March 1, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
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