Lisa Kroll went to feed her horses last summer and found a grease-spotted bowling ball on the floor of her barn and a hole in the ceiling. Out in her pasture she found her 5-month-old horse dead with a lump on its head. Now, a man from Spring Valley, Wisconsin, faces charges of unsafe use of a homemade cannon and endangering Kroll in the incident.
There was not enough evidence to show that the cannon killed the horse.
Kroll told a sheriff’s deputy that she had seen the horse earlier that day and it was still alive. She estimated the horse was worth about $10,000.
An investigation by the sheriff’s deputy revealed a large party was held July 4th to celebrate the holiday about half a mile south of Kroll’s residence; the owner of the property told police her brother, 65-year-old Ricky Thorne, brought along his cannon.
Neighbours admitted they had fired eight to 10 bowling balls out of the cannon, as well as eight bowling pins. Kroll said she found three bowling balls and three pins on her property.
When questioned by authorities Thorne apologised, saying he didn’t expect anything fired from it to land on anyone else’s property or to hit anyone’s buildings.
The neighbour said Thorne had assured her the objects would land on her own property and bury themselves deeply under the soil.
Kroll, who operates a business selling and breeding horses, estimated the damage to her barn would cost $3,000 to $4,000 to repair.
St. Croix County District Attorney Eric Johnson called the case unusual, and use of the cannon unsafe.
“I have been D.A. for 34 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said.
Johnson said there is no law in Wisconsin that forbids the use of a cannon.
Thorne has now been charged with recklessly endangering safety and negligent handling of a weapon.