Example: [Collected via e-mail, 2000]
Origins: Sometimes you'll receive a story in
On 25 November 2000, in Portland, Oregon, a chocolate-colored Labrador named Ivy was killed by an exploding tennis ball. She was being walked that morning by a friend of her owner while her owner was away on a fishing trip. The man came upon a tennis ball wrapped in tape lying in the median strip out front of the dog's home. After kicking at the ball a bit himself, he picked it up, thinking it would make a good toy for Ivy. He carried it with him for about an hour, tossing to Ivy at times so she could fetch it back to him. On one trip, she must have chomped down on her prize harder than usual and thereby triggered the fatal blast. Although her walker was standing less than
The badly injured dog did not die from its injuries but could not be saved, said Jorge Roman, a Multnomah County animal control officer on the
Bomb fragments were removed from the deceased dog to determine what kind of explosive device she'd encountered.
Police bomb experts say explosive devices in tennis balls have become more common in the city. "You'd be surprised how many calls we get" about this type of explosive, said Henry Groepper, spokesman for the Portland Police Bureau.
In that year roughly six tennis ball bombs had been reported to the Portland area's bomb disposal unit, but they caused no other injuries.
Tennis ball-bombs are nothing new. Investigators said they are usually made by curious teens and young adults "looking for that big bang," using information found on the Internet. They are then abandoned when they don't detonate like they were supposed to.
Because this sort of bomb isn't all that uncommon, folks are cautioned to leave found tennis balls alone, especially those which are wrapped in duct or electrical tape or feel heavier than usual.
Barbara "bombs away" Mikkelson
Last updated: 1 August 2011
Amick, Steven. "No Suspects in Tennis-Ball Blast." The Oregonian. 27 November 2000. Franzen, Robin. "Explosive Ball Not the First for Police." The Oregonian. 28 November 2000. Franzen, Robin. "Disposal Squad All Too Familiar with Ball Bomb." The Oregonian. 28 November 2000. Ottey, Michael and Ryan Frank. "Tennis Ball Explodes; Dog Dies." The Oregonian. 26 November 2000 (p. B1).