While digging pet's grave, Griffin man finds grenade in backyard

A Griffin man digging a grave for a pet in his backyard unearthed a grenade Friday morning.

Jim LePore's dog, Cooter, had been ill. She passed away sometime after 2 a.m., he told the AJC.

Using a tiller, LePore was digging a burial spot for the American pitbull terrier.

"I picked up a football-size rock, a couple of cans," LePore, 46, said. "I thought, 'somebody's buried some junk back here.' "

Another piece of "junk" turned out to be a hand grenade, possibly from the Vietnam War era.

"When I got about three feet deep, I hit something else," LePore said.

At first, he said he tossed it aside with a shovel. But when he took a closer look, LePore said the object looked like a grenade, something like he had studied years ago in a history class. The smooth object weighed a couple of pounds, and when he told his wife about it, she urged him to call 911.

Griffin police and fire officials arrived at the Hillwood Avenue home, and the GBI was called to the scene. Capt. Mark Gilreath with the Griffin Fire Department said the grenade was still capable of causing harm, prompting the GBI to get involved with removing the device.

The grenade was removed by the GBI with a remote, robotic arm, according to Cpl. Bryan Clanton with Griffin police. It was detonated behind the Spalding County Fire Department, Clanton said.

No one was injured in the incident, and no charges have been filed, Clanton said.

LePore said a GBI official told him the grenade may have been from the Vietnam era, and was likely buried by someone years before he bought the home four years ago. The home is more than 50 years old, LePore said.

"What's the chance of me digging that thing up?" LePore asked. "It's crazy."

When all of the excitement was over, and the grenade was gone, LePore said he went back to his original task of burying Cooter.

"I didn't want to bury my dog and then have to dig her up," he said.

Cooter now rests about 150 feet from the house.