Football fans ruffled by owl kick
Soccer fans in Colombia are crying fowl over kicking an owl. In fact, they're crying a lot worse.
An apologetic player is facing sanctions after he kicked an injured owl that landed on the field during a game on Sunday. The owl was a mascot for the opposing team and was being treated at a veterinary clinic in Barranquilla. The bird is expected to recover from a slight fracture of its right leg.
The owl had landed injured near the corner of the field after being hit by the ball when Panama defender Luis Moreno of the club Deportivo Pereira walked over and kicked it about three yards. Atletico Junior fans shouted "murderer, murderer" and the player now faces sanctions.
Moreno said he did not know the bird was a good-luck charm. "I want to apologize to the fans," he said after the game. "I was not trying to hurt the owl. I did it to see if it would fly."
Pereira club president Francisco Javier Lopez said the player would be punished. Moreno also could be disciplined by soccer's governing body in Colombia. Animal welfare officials said there are no animal cruelty laws in Colombia.
"It made me very angry that he kicked the little animal," said Atletico Junior player Luia Paez, who scored a goal during Atletico's 2-1 victory. "It was already injured by being struck by the ball. I said a bunch of awful things to him. I was really angry."