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Quail Tragedy Narrowly Averted Due to Quick-Thinking Lawyer
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DALLAS, Texas - The ASPCA Council of Awards has voted unanimously to give their highest honor to 78-year-old Austin attorney Harry Whittington who leaped into the line of fire to defend a quail from an attack by U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney Saturday afternoon. "Dick told me we were going bird-watching," said the stunned-but-stable Whittington, "And that's what we were doing. At least, that's what I was doing. Then Dick pulls out a gun and starts aiming up on one of the poor critters! I did what any animal lover would do, I blocked his shot." Whittington is in intensive care at a Corpus Christi hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

"This is the sort of heroism that doesn't always get the attention it deserves."
-- ASPCA Spokesman Rod Phlanders
"This is the sort of heroism that doesn't always get the attention it deserves," explained ASPCA spokesman Rod Phlanders, "When men take their role as caretaker of the earth seriously, we believe that needs to be recognized." The award -- a bronze squirrel holding a sign saying simply, "Thanks" -- and an accompanying $50 cash prize will be presented to Whittington at the hospital on Thursday, assuming doctors allow it. "They've assured us he'll be well enough to receive the award by then," said Phlanders.

Lea Anne McBride, a spokesman for Cheney, tells a different story. "Mr. Whittington was well aware of the nature of the outing," said McBride, "Vice President Cheney has shot quail on this farm for over a decade, often accompanied by Mr. Whittington, who has also shot quail. One has to wonder why Mr. Whittington felt the need to bring along his shotgun, bird shot, and two dogs on what he thought was a bird-watching expedition."

"Yes, there is clearly some confusion on the part of Mr. Whittington," said Dr. Ray Armstrong, overseeing Whittington's care, "We often see this with shocks to the head or face. He currently believes the accident was an intentional act on his part. He has asked our staff what room the quail is in and asked that it be sent flowers on his behalf. This sort of delirium usually passes within a week. It would not be appropriate for the ASPCA to take their intended action at this time."

"Mr. Whittington will receive his award, I promise you that," stated Phlanders, "In his hospital room, or in absentia at a press conference. But we will get this recognition. Or rather, he will. HE will get this recognition."
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