Walla Walla therapist faces administrative charge in dog poisoning


A Walla Walla therapist and mental-health counselor has been charged with unprofessional conduct in July of this year by the Washington state Department of Health.

Dorothy Doebler faces the department's administrative charge following a guilty plea to a criminal charge in Walla Walla County Superior Court last year.

The family therapist allegedly poisoned a neighbor's dog in 2008, using pellets of gopher poison placed in hamburger and fed to the animal through a hole in a fence, according to a statement of charges by the Health Department.

Doebler, who declined to comment for this story, has the opportunity to defend herself against the Department of Health charges before a final order is issued.

She has been licensed in the state since 2001.

Poisoning animals is a gross misdemeanor in Washington and Doebler was charged in court with first-degree animal cruelty.

The counselor pleaded guilty to the criminal charge in June 2008. She was sentenced to 360 days in jail, with all but 30 of those suspended. She was also sentenced to 240 hours of community service, a year of probation and fined $1,192.29.

The court agreed to treat Doebler's conviction as a deferred prosecution.

Based on the court case, state health officials said Doebler was in violation of state law and that public health, safety and welfare is impacted.

A hearing is scheduled for February.

Sheila Hagar can be reached at sheilahagar@wwub.com or 526-8322. Check out her blog at blogs.ublabs.org/fromthestorageroom.


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