Dog Owners Beware Of Tennis Ball Bombs During Fourth Of July Weekend

The normally benign tennis ball you find abandoned, especially around the holiday, could be an illegal and dangerous firework.

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A tennis ball bomb looks like a normal tennis ball but has a fuse sticking out of it. Via Kent Police Department/Facebook
A tennis ball bomb looks like a normal tennis ball but has a fuse sticking out of it. Via Kent Police Department/Facebook
John Virata

Tennis balls are oftentimes a dog’s favorite toy. Many dogs love playing fetch with tennis balls, but there is a potential dark and sometimes deadly side to the normally benign tennis ball every Fourth of July weekend. Some Fourth of July revelers construct “tennis ball bombs” out of tennis balls and police are warning folks to keep their dogs away from the home made fireworks, according to a report on CBSNews.com

The tennis ball bombs look like regular tennis balls, except explosive material is placed inside the tennis ball. A fuse is added, and when lit, the device can have devastating effects, if constructed properly.

“Some of them are very effective and dangerous, and some of them don’t work, but you don’t know,” Jarod Kasner, public information officer for the Kent Police Department in Washington state, told CBS News.com. “People light them, leave them thinking it’s a dud, but who knows what’s happening on the inside. Then a dog comes and picks it up…”
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Dog’s favorite toy is often a tennis ball. Beware of abandoned or altered tennis balls, especially around the Fourth of July holiday. Via Perry Svensson/Thinkstock

Dog’s favorite toy is often a tennis ball. Beware of abandoned or altered tennis balls, especially around the Fourth of July holiday. Via Perry Svensson/Thinkstock

Back in 2000, a man was walking his dog in Portland, Washington, and saw a tennis ball in some grass. He picked the ball up and tossed it to his dog, and when the dog grasped the ball with his mouth, the ball exploded. The dog had to be euthanized, according to a KEPR TV news report.

Tennis ball bombs often show signs of tampering, including seams that have been cut, something protruding from the ball that can serve as a fuse, or a small hole where a fuse could have been inserted into the device, the KEPR report said.

So, if you happen upon an abandoned tennis ball, or any item that looks burned or has tape attached to it, especially around the Fourth of July weekend, don’t pick it up as it may be a tennis ball bomb or other homemade explosive device. If you suspect the ball or item may have been tampered with, or it looks like an obvious tennis ball bomb, call your local police or fire department and report it.

Better to be safe and sane, than sorry.

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