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. Rick

    Maybe he was just flipping the bird at the opposing team.

    March 1, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. drea10

    Who goes up to a HELPLESS animal and kicks it????? That was a kick, not a "oh I wanted to see if it would fly tap"...discusting. The poor bird was on its back, completely helpless and that POS makes an effort to jog over from the middle of the field to kick it. Someone needs to kick him when he's down and helpless. This makes me SICK. Regardless of the cause of death- he still kicks an innocent animal for NO reason. No heart.

    March 1, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • fred

      There's a difference between a kick and a flick, this was the latter...

      March 1, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimvsmij

      Lets take Fred, break a bunch of his bones, then "flick" him the equivalent of 5 body lengths in distance and see if he thinks it's ok.

      March 1, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • drea10

      im with you jimvs

      March 1, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. The Masked Avenger

    It's owl fun and games until someone gets hurt.

    March 1, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • drea10

      now if was the Masked Avenger on the field...kick away boys.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. fred

    seriously, nothing to see here, if he gets put in jail for that it will be a shame

    March 1, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. YukinoJudas

    The really sick thing is the people who were outraged by this probably went home and ate a steak/hamburger/lamb chops or what not without a second thought.

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

      lol how is that sick?

      what about all the plants you're scarfing down? Who will speak for the treeS!?

      March 1, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Captain_Colossal

      hey Yukino i think the lack of animal protein and fats has given you a brain deficiency.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • drea10

      yeah i went home and kicked an owl, then threw it on the grill. Nice try though. Do you eat owl? Does anyone eat owl??? Dont think so.

      March 1, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • clubseal

      PETA= People eating tasty animals

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

    I did not read anywhere in this article where this guy killed the owl in order to eat and survive.

    March 1, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • fred

      I didn't hear about any other animals dumb enough to land on the soccer field and not move whilst in the middle of the play either.

      March 1, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimvsmij

      And your point is......?

      March 1, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • drea10

      @ now owls know the game of soccer huh? They know to evade the ball? I'm sure you've never accidentally been in the way of the sound of you, you've done PLENTY of dumb things in your life. Like that post.

      March 1, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • fred

      what's your point? You're saying that the only reason to kill animals is to eat and survive? You ever hit a squirrel while you were driving on the road? This is akin to that.

      March 1, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • drea10

      Of course there are accidents, but who sees a helpless squirrl and walks up to it and kicks it for no reason what-so-ever? The guy didnt accidentally jog 20 yards over to this bird and accidentally KICK it.

      March 1, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • fred

      The point is the owl is just as much at fault here as the player, people want to give rights to the owl to protect it on par with human life, but when the discussion is flipped, it's just a bird that doesn't know any better, chose one, you either get an animal that deserves to be treated like a human being or it doesn't, you can't have it both ways. I bet you guys complain you don't have any cake left while gorging yourself on it (no eggs or milk in the cake of course).

      March 1, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimvsmij

      Fred, the only reason to kill an animal on purpose is to eat it to survive. You don't kill for the pleasure of killing. If you think killing for pleasure is right then you need to have your head examined. Your kind of thinking is what almost wiped out the American buffalo. people would just shoot them from trains as they passed by, often betting on how many kills they got.

      March 1, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • fred

      Listen you mental midget, I'm not saying that, and the kick didn't even kill the bird, you keep making these extreme, grandiose statements, this is nothing like the buffalo, the intent wasn't even to kill it but to move it from the field

      March 1, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. American1234

    Did anyone else notice the peso to american dollar exchange rate?

    March 1, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Masked Avenger

      Yes, the Colombian Peso sure does look weak.

      March 1, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. The Masked Avenger

    Kicking an owl is not wise.

    March 1, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Zoe

    Wait....the article said the bird was not harmed UNTILL the sedation. It should be the vets with the fine. Were did they get their degrees? They should know not to do that to an owl.

    March 1, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. dood


    March 1, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jeanine

    Why wasn't the bird in a cage to prevent this type of thing from occurring? People are just plain dumb.

    March 1, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. albert

    i would have kicked that owl so far up it's butt that it would have flown. these three guys from long island got drunk and field goaled a neighbor's annoying attack chihuahua (can you imagine how that looked?) to shut it up. i laughed so hard when i heard about it i wet my pants.

    March 1, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bob

    This guy should spend time in jail with Michael Vick as his partner! Two athletic degenerates.

    March 1, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. him

    I wish he would have stomped on it instead....owls are ugly creatures.

    March 1, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. denise

    Maybe we should kick him in the head and see what happens-Oh wait NOT much would change.

    March 1, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
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