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. Dee

    Looks like Luis was simply removing the owl from the field – using a technique that did not harm the bird, stop the game, or risk harm from the bird. No malice on the part of the bird or the player. People are granted dominion over animals – the owl was creating a liability for the players. Laud Luis for removing the risk.

    March 1, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • lickadick

      I hope you do not breed

      March 1, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • NYPrincessTt

      ...said the person whose screen name is lickadick. Here's hoping YOU don't reproduce either!

      March 1, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Buck-i-nut

    When you sedate ANY animal, there is a calculation you have to do based on the animals weight and body make up. This has to be pretty precise or you run into problems. Although taking all the necessary precautions it is still a risk to put any animal or human for that matter under sedation. And when you do sedate you still have to keep a close eye on the patient. Not sure why they felt the need for sedation in this instance. Didn't sound like there was an issue untill the sedation. Just sayin.

    March 1, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. krashundburn

    So the owl "shouldn't have been there?" eh? He failed to read the OWLS KEEP OUT sign, I guess.

    The ball striking it was accidental, the player kicking it was cruel. What a sleazebag, kicking an injured animal.

    No excuses. It's sad that some people think it was okay. It wasn't.

    March 1, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • him

      that owl got what was coming to him....I heard owl is pretty good eating if his body is still around maybe we can deep fry him.

      March 1, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. sean

    Well its easy to see why columbia has so many problems with drugs and socialism if they have ridiculous laws that treat animals as if they were people. How stupid. Just goes to show you why the US is so much a better place. And it reminds me why socialism, and liberalism is so evil.

    March 1, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimvsmij

      Can't wait to kick your dog to death and see you be happy about it!

      March 1, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. obama


    March 1, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. NYPrincessTt

    Good to know America isn't the only country who values animals over people. This guy is facing more jail time for kicking an owl than if he had kicked someone's toddler!

    March 1, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. obama

    hang the porchh monkey

    March 1, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. him

    To show our support for Luis Moreno Go out and kick an Animal, and put it on YouTube.

    March 1, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Arejaye

    If the owl is dead, it's apparently not very good luck...even to itself

    March 1, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. billy-bob-joe

    whats up peoples!

    March 1, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. James Taylor

    How dare it land on the field during a game. How dare it. If I was there I would have booted that foul fowl out of the stadium.

    March 1, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. This debate is stupid

    Come on people ... especially you 'animals have more rights than people' people; this dumb animal landed on a field of play, got the sh*# knocked out of if by a ball possibly traveling over 15 mph ... what do expect ... it should have died. From the video I did not see a wind up from the opposing team player.

    Must say this has been laughable reading to end my day!

    March 1, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. lickadick

    black-guilty! hang him

    March 1, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. her-man

    look at that guys legs i mean if he just barely tapped it it prolly would of injured it...i say if its suppose to be lucky why aint it in a cage

    March 1, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mike

    What Luis Moreno did was unacceptable, he should be kicked off the team and banned from all other football stadiums and matches. There was no need to kick the owl, the excuse of saying that he kicked it just to see if it would fly off is unacceptable. The officials should throw the book at him and have him face charges for what he did. He should've just go and picked up the owl to see if it was okay and assist it. There is no doubt in my mind that Luis Moreno just made the biggest mistake of his life and his career especially on live TV what millions of people can witness things. The owl never did anything wrong to him so why did he have to kick it. Good luck to him am trying to find him new job if he can find one!

    March 1, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
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