On 27 February 2011, a Colombian league match between two struggling teams drew global attention after one player kicked an owl.
Popular Junior hosted the top flight match against Deportivo Pereira with both teams situated firmly in the bottom of the table. At one point, an owl that served as an unofficial mascot for Junior wandered onto the pitch, where it was soon struck by the ball when a Deportivo player attempted a low clearance. The referee stopped play a few seconds later, at which point Deportivo's Luis Moreno walked over to the injured owl and kicked it off the pitch.
Afterward, Moreno apologized to Junior and their supporters, saying that he was not trying to hurt the owl, but wanted only to see whether it could still fly. The league later determined that Moreno's action was a deliberate provocation of the home fans and suspended him for two games. They also fined him $560.
The owl was sent to a veterinarian, but died from its injuries.