Dog Owners Warned About Explosive Tennis Balls Lying in Grass-Truth!

Summary of eRumor:

Dog owners have been warned by police to watch out for exploding tennis balls found lying in grass that can severely injure or kill dogs.

The Truth:

Warnings about exploding tennis balls have been in the news going as far back as 2000, and there has been at least one confirmed case of a dog being killed by an exploding tennis ball.

That occurred in Oregon, in 2000, when a man walking a friend’s chocolate lab found a tennis ball lying the grass. After carrying the ball for a little bit, the man reportedly threw the tennis ball few times for the dog to fetch. Then, suddenly, the ball exploded in the dog’s jaws, leading to injuries so severe that the dog had to be euthanized, according to local media reports.

There have also been a number of arrests made in exploding tennis ball cases in the Pacific Northwest over the years. A 15-year-old boy from Clackamas County, Oregon, was arrested for possessing bomb making materials, including those for exploding tennis balls, in 2007. And a bomb squad was called to a park in Arbor Lodge City Park in Oregon in 2011 after an exploding tennis ball was found there.

Warnings re-surfaced in 2016 about exploding tennis balls. They didn’t appear to be connected to any specific threat or trend, but various media outlets like CBS Sacramento and KEPR in Seattle. Warnings also resurfaced on Facebook after Kent Police Department answered a question during a public safety meeting in June 2016 about how to identify an exploding tennis ball:

A tennis ball bomb is very easy to identify. 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 police department didn’t actually issue a public warning about the dangers of exploding of tennis balls at the time. Rather, it was simply answering a question from a civilian. Again, there didn’t appear to be any elevated threat posed by exploding tennis balls in 2017; there hadn’t been any credible reports of them in the news for more than five years. And it should be noted that previous reports of exploding tennis balls appear to be concentrated in the Pacific Northwest.

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

Collected on: 05/19/2017