Seattle Times Publisher Frank Blethen faces a misdemeanor animal abuse charge in the shooting of a neighbor’s dog with a pellet gun.
In a written statement to Mercer Island police, Blethen admitted to shooting near the dog in May in an attempt to shoo it from his garden. But he said he did not aim at the animal and did not think he hit it.
Blethen said he tried several times to chase the dog away because it was digging at some shrubbery.
The dog’s owner, lawyer Robert Chicoine, says the 11-month-old yellow Labrador retriever suffered two pellet wounds, including one close to the heart. The dog was treated by a veterinarian and the wound is apparently not life-threatening.
Chicoine said he confronted Blethen when he discovered that his dog had been shot.
“I asked him if he shot my dog and he stated yes,” Chicoine’s statement to police said.
“He then qualified his statement by saying he shot at the dog to scare it … I informed Frank Blethen that if Red had been on his property and he wanted him removed, he could’ve called or informed me rather than shoot him.”
The case is under review by the city attorney’s office for the possible misdemeanor charge.
Chicoine also reported Blethen to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for shooting pellets at geese.
Blethen said he has never shot directly at the birds, but has fired into the water to try to scare them away.
Mercer Island Detective Brian Noel said federal agents placed the Blethen home under surveillance but found no violation and closed their investigation.
Noel told The Seattle Times that police have been dispatched several times recently to both the Blethen and Chicoine homes to field complaints about the other neighbor.