The Colombian Soccer Owl Has Died

  • Dan Fogarty

Sad news out of Colombia: the owl who was kicked in the face by a soccer player, after it landed on the field during a match, has died.

Yesterday, the owl, which was the pseudo mascot and good luck charm of Barranquilla’s Atletico Junior team, landed on the pitch after it injured its wing. As referees waited for the owl’s handlers to come scoop it up, a player from the opposing side, Luis Moreno, came over and booted it in the face.

Here is video of the incident:

It’s important to note, the kick isn’t what directly led to the animal’s death. According to Radio Sante Fe (via My Fox Boston), the bird died of respiratory arrest early this morning due to stress, which resulted from the amount of people that were handling it after it was booted.

Still, people are (understandably) mad at Moreno. As soon as he kicked the owl, he was showered with boos from the Barranquilla home crowd and met with chants of “Murderer! Murderer!” He was escorted from the field by armed police, faced protests  from animal rights activists, and was condemned by the league commissioner.

He also elicited this (touching and righteous) response from one of Atletico Junior’s players:

“I was so angry he hit the little animal, especially after it had already been hit by the ball. I told him a bunch of rude things, a really felt enraged,” said Junior striker Luis Paez.

According to Radio Santa Fe, Moreno faces one to three months in jail and a maximum fine of 50,000 pesos ($26), in addition to suspensions/sanctions from the league.