Watch Out for Tennis Ball Bombs This Summer

The booms of fireworks and homemade explosives come as less of a surprise as we near the Fourth of July, but few expect those booms to come from something their dog is chewing.

It sounds like the punchline to a slapstick routine, but this is no joke. The threat of exploding tennis balls looms over this summer’s outdoor activities, and all pet owners are urged to be careful.

Far from just an urban legend, the warning was issued after a man in Everett, Wash. stumbled across a cache of tennis ball bombs while geocaching earlier this year.

“I use my cane. I never use my fingers to dig in there. You never know what you’re going to find. And I saw something a little different,” Ray Friis told Kiro 7. “I touched it with my cane, and it turned out to be a wet paper bag. And it ripped open, and bombs came rolling out of it.”

A video posted by Liam Grant (@liamgranty) on

In 2000, a dog was killed when a man threw a tennis ball he found on the ground, not knowing it was a bomb. Injury to the animal was so severe it had to be euthanized.

The police department of Kent, Wash. recently hosted a community meeting to clear up some of the confusion surrounding the exploding tennis balls. They posted the responses to several of the questions posed by Kent residents on their Facebook page.

“A tennis ball bomb is very easy to identify,” Kent Police Department posted. “It is a real tennis ball that has some sort of fuse sticking out of it. Here is a picture of one. The tennis ball could also be completely wrapped in duct tape with a fuse sticking out.”

The unfortunate acts of a few don’t have to ruin your summer, but they do point out the importance of staying safe. Follow this link for a list of summer safety tips for what your dog should and shouldn’t be snacking on this season.

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