Publisher May Work With Vet In Agreement On Dog Wounding

MERCER ISLAND - Seattle Times Publisher Frank Blethen may work with a veterinarian as part of the agreement that may lead to dismissal of a misdemeanor charge of wounding a neighbor's dog.

The stipulated agreement, approved yesterday by Bellevue District Court Judge Fred Yeatts, calls for Blethen to do 20 hours of community service in work related to dogs, pay $547.99 to cover the neighbor's veterinary bills and $75 in court costs and have no criminal violations for the next 180 days.

If the court agrees, the community service would likely involve working in a veterinarian office, said Blethen's attorney Jesse Franklin.

Blethen's Mercer Island neighbor, Robert Chicoine, accused him of wounding his then-11-month-old yellow Labrador retriever with a pellet gun in May. Blethen admitted to shooting at the ground near the dog to chase it from his garden but said he did not aim at the animal and did not think he hit it.

The dog suffered two pellet wounds, one close to its heart.

Blethen did not admit to the charge, which will be dismissed if he meets all the court's requirements. If not, a trial has been set for next June.

Reached at his home after the hearing, Blethen said his lawyer had advised him not to discuss the case until it is settled.

Chicoine is unhappy over the agreement and contends that the shooting was intentional. In a letter to The Times, Chicoine said he believes the agreement should include counseling or treatment.

Chicoine, who is an attorney, tried yesterday to speak out in court but was cut short by Judge Yeatts, who reminded him that it was not a civil case.

Yeatts said he had received numerous letters from Chicoine, his family and other members of the public regarding the case.

"If there was an attempt to influence the court, it doesn't work that way," Yeatts said.