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. The Masked Avenger

    I want to see someone from 'Bama kick that stupid Auburn eagle.

    March 1, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • SouthrnPrincess

      Roll Tide!! 🙂

      March 1, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Yeah!!

    what if he owl was trying to eat the player.. it is

    March 1, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. sarah

    boil the aids infected koon

    March 1, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • NYPrincessTt

      WOW. Please, Sarah, seek help soon.

      March 1, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. him

    I heard that owl had been grinding his dirty shoes into Luis Moreno's couch, and started saying " F yo Couch " yeah he had to put the owl in it's place. That was a brand new couch!

    March 1, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. E

    Really? Really? How is this news? Secondly died from respiratory arrest from stress and with no fractures? Rofl those vets fail.

    March 1, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jean

    It was already dying. If it had been in good health it would not have been just lying there on the field like that. With all the lights and activity going on, it would have been hiding somewhere. What he did was wrong to do to any creature, but he is not the reason it died.

    March 1, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Josh

    I didn't know soccer players could get that fat.

    March 1, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. J R Brown

    I don't know what's more pathetic...the guy who kicked the owl or the morons whining as if he'd stabbed some kid with a knife.'s just an owl.

    March 1, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Moe

    Okay so if I see a dog in distress on the ground I'm not going to put my foot under it and kick it to see if it will get up. Likewise, if I see any animal (that can't harm me) injured I am going to see if it's alright. NOT by kicking it. This guy knew what he was doing, he knew it was the other teams mascot. This was just a slap in the face to the other team.

    March 1, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Masked Avenger

      FYI an owl can tear you up pretty good

      March 1, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • him

      injuring helpless animals is kind of funny...They were put here for us as food anways

      March 1, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Conkfritter

    Those people are so poor, they have no regard for life other than their own.
    They are like animals themselves. A bird is just a bird injured or not. The guy was lying with the lowest of all excuses.
    Another Sammy Sosa 'Me no know defense".
    The vets??? They are 3 rd world quacks. Soccer is a cultural cancer anyway.

    March 1, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • NYPrincessTt

      Riiight. Because here in America, the land of plenty, we have SOOOO much regard for the lives of others. Especially when we post comments saying that those in other countries are "like animals themselves". Personally, I find people like YOU to be a cultural cancer.

      March 1, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • sarah

      NYP you are an ass!!!

      March 1, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • NYPrincessTt

      the opinion of someone who posted "boil the aids infected koon" is irrelevant. Though I may be an ass, you are an ignorant, prejudiced bigot. So go suck on that!

      March 1, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • sarah

      NYP Go suck on an aids infected ni**er d*ck

      March 1, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • NYPrincessTt

      sarah, I would love too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      March 1, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Strigidae


    Owls generally swallow their prey; that's why you can find intact skulls and the like in the regurgitated pellets. "True" birds of prey (Order Falconiformes) that tear pieces of flesh from their prey actually have beaks that are weaker than most people expect...the shearing force of the beak comes more from leverage with the neck and talons, rather than true "slicing" of the flesh with the beak.

    March 1, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • dj23

      sounds like you know your birds

      March 1, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Agent_C


      March 1, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • DidNot Enroll In YourClass

      So what...

      March 1, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • King

      You remember that owl on Winnie the Pooh? Cool dude.

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

      he needs to go and do some comunity service and some jail time

      March 1, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • LC

      Thank you, Strigidae, (yes, we know its an owl family designation). I appreciate the voice of intelligence in the discussion. We have a state and federally permitted raptor (bords of presy) facility in so. Cal (no government or public funds are soliceted; we're funding it for our legacy). Owls -and other raptors- without anthropomorphizing them- are a model of responsibility that humans could learn from. I have leaved with them 24/7/365 for over a decade in our facility. They should be spared. They always adopt unrelated orphans. They're faithful mates, protective and providing parents and they never take more than they need to eat. They're a necessary part of the environment for the rodent control they provide free of charge to humans and should be protected for that purpose if nothing else. Hanta Virus kills 1/4 of healthy adults but these owls can consume the disease ridden vector species without passing it on to humans. YEAH!

      March 1, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  12. tray

    nice to see the humanity displayed here, you people saying it is just a bird are probably bullies yourselves

    March 1, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vrrooomm Vroom

      That was no scoop. Firstly the poor thing was in shock from the initial bean and then Einstein of the jocks comes over and totally kicks the thing to the side. I'm not PETA but we gotta take care of the little creatures...

      March 1, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • phearis

      hey John in NY
      "scooped it with his foot and flung it off the field" A.K.A. Kicking the owl. And since the owl suffered for a week before dying of it's injuries, he did more than "scooped" it as you put it. I suppose you think swinging a bat at a dog equals petting, right?

      March 1, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      John NY, you need to get your eyes checked. I saw the video and there was no scooping. He punted the bird and according to reports it went for a distance of about 10 ft before hitting the ground again. I have a feeling this player is going to get shot by rival fans sometime in the near future or maybe fans of his own team for disgracing their club and jersey. That's how they roll in S. America when football is involved.

      March 1, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • geauxLSUtigers

      ....... and John in NY is just as sick as the soccer player. Please stay away from animals!

      March 1, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • OrangeE1`

      look the guy was a soccer player. If there was any malice behind the kick the bird would have landed somewhere up in the stands.

      With that said it was an owl. ie a bird that might be seen as dangerous and difficult to handle. So the "scoop" probably had some reasoning behind it although he should have just left it alone. My guess is that the ball killed it. It looked like it hit it 10 times harder than the player did.

      March 1, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • andrew dunne

      so what you are saying is that the player is not aloud to softly kick and owl but he could have shot it and then ate it and that would be ok.

      March 1, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • AR

      but it's JUST A BIRD. It's not a person. It does not have feelings like a person. There is no moral equivalency here. What he did was not nice. And that's IT. If he did this to a person, people would not even be talking about it. People do this kind of stuff to each other ALL OF THE TIME. Suddenly someone does it to an animal and it's MURDER? For christ's sake, OJ didn't even go to jail for butchering his wife, but this guy is a murderer for kicking a bird that probably would have died anyway? You have your priorities backward.

      March 1, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • johnyCA

      HeyJohn in NY, you must be high in crack, watch the video again. The soccer player KICKS not "scoops" the owl out the field, and to answer you questions about why people are more angry towards this than the regular riots, well simple, its a defenseless bird, if you are caught in a riot... it your own fault for been stupid and hang out with the wrong crowd my brainless Johnny in NY friend.

      March 1, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • pedro

      @AR – I have had plenty of experience with dogs, cats, horses, birds, etc – I can tell you that all of these animals have enough feelings to not like getting hit or hurt. You being callous enough about that to think that avoiding further interruption to a sporting event is worth willfully hurting or killing an animal speaks very poorly of you. May you be reincarnated as an animal who has the bad luck to cross paths with someone like you.

      March 1, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      I saw a scoop there too... the guy flung it like a player would take a wrist shot in hockey – far enough to get it off the field. I don't understand the outrage here. Now watch this guy get run out of soccer and turned into a national villain because people can't make their own proper judgment.

      March 1, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. tray

    Conkfritter is exactly right, these people are ignorant and very low

    March 1, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mike

    Sarah I love you, pls don't say bad words

    March 1, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Birds&Balls

    I'm kind of saddened by the fact that so many sports fans, primarily males, are still so disrespectful to life.

    It doesn't matter if it's just another bird that Merano kicked. It is the fact that he made a conscious decision to kick a living creature, with intention, and hard enough to move it. Regardless of it being considered important to the opposing team or not.

    I'd like to see some of your heads meet his foot for all your inability to see past your beer bellies and egos. I'm sorry that to enjoys sports one has to put up with all the other men who are so shortsighted and misguided.

    March 1, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • me too

      apperantly you like birds more then men. Your comment is very hypocritical. It's ok to call men fat beer bellied pigs but PLEASE DON"T SAY NOTHING OR HURT ANY BIRDS!!!

      March 1, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really????

      @dlaw Your powers of perception ASTOUND me!!!
      You got all that from a reasonable statement regarding simple respect for life?
      You are truly amazing!

      March 1, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • me too

      That is exactley what I got out of that as well. You have no respect for human male life sooooo u fail

      March 1, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tell It LikeIt Isn't

      Just because you're tired of bringing me beer and chips you don't need to get ugly... I never knew. OK, how's this?... take a one game break. See? We're not all bad... now, back to the kitchen.

      March 1, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • diego

      Me too, your mom is calling you.

      March 1, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
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