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      He killed a hawk to help a squirrel

      For a Virginia doctor, squirrels are a man's best friend, too.

      Thomas Shepler, a hand surgeon, shot a hawk to death in his backyard when he said the bird was eyeing a young squirrel that he and his wife had helped raise.

      Shepler, 65, said the hawk had previously killed an adult squirrel near his suburban Washington home in Vienna. When the doctor tried to chase away the bird over the weekend by yelling and throwing a crowbar at it, the hawk didn't leave the area.

      So Shepler got a shotgun and killed it.

      A police officer heard the shot Saturday and Shepler was arrested. He was charged with discharging a firearm in public and cruelty to animals.

      Shepler says he cares about animals and is feeling a lot of anxiety and embarrassment over the shooting.

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