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Five-legged dog saved from life in a sideshow

allysonWe’ve brought you a lot of three-legged dog stories, but it’s not too often we run across a five-legged dog story — especially one as heartwarming as this one.

Allyson Siegel of Charlotte, N.C. is paying $4,000 to buy a five-legged Chihuahua-terrier mix, named “Precious,” saving her from life as a sideshow freak.

She’ll be paying at least $2,000 more for medical expenses to remove the fifth leg.

And, in another decision we fully support, she’s changing the dog’s name  to Lilly.

Siegel, 45, bought the puppy from Gastonia resident Calvin Owensby last week because she couldn’t bear to see her sold to the owner of a Coney Island sideshow that features deformed animals, according to the Charlotte Observer.

The dog was born about six weeks ago and is healthy except for the extra appendage, which hangs down between her two back legs and has no feeling.

When John Strong, the owner of a Coney Island sideshow, heard about Precious/Lilly from a friend, he contacted Owensby and agreed to the $3,000 asking price.

“There are millions of dogs with four legs, and there are only three with five legs I’m aware of,” said Strong.

The money couldn’t have come at a better time for Owensby, a 57-year-old electrician who was laid off in December. “I’ve been looking for work, can’t find work nowhere,” he said. “It hurts when you go from $500 a week to nothing.”

Strong, who has 27 live animals and 250 stuffed, preserved or mummified ones, is a newcomer to Coney Island who opened his operation just down the street from a well-established rival sideshow.

But when a local paper published Owensby’s plans to buy Precious/Lilly – and his phone number – he started getting calls from irate animal lovers, protesting the sale and “cussing me out.”

Allyson Siegel also read the story, and decided to take action.

“I just called him and I said, ‘How much?’” Owensby still wanted a $3,000 profit, but he had to pay back a $1,000 deposit that Strong had given him, so Siegel forked over $4,000.

Siegel, according to the Observer story,  says a simple creed motivated her: “Don’t do to animals what you wouldn’t do to your kids.”

Surgery to remove the leg, which is tripping Lilly as she tries to walk, is scheduled in two weeks. Siegel, who already has six cats, plans to give Lilly to her sister in Charlotte.

Strong says he’ll get over the loss: “Sometimes, you just gotta say, ‘OK, I still have nine live, two-headed animals,’ and move on.”

I believe I’ll pass on seeing Strong’s animal freak sideshow, and save my money for when Siegel starts her own: “Ladies and Gentlemen, step right up, it’s The Amazing Allyson, the woman with the oversized heart.”

(Photo: Charlotte Observer)


Comment from vida
Time July 19, 2009 at 9:54 am

What a wonderful story, so good to hear of kind hearted people, gives me hope!

Comment from Bobbi
Time July 19, 2009 at 10:16 am

Good for her.. very good job on saving that pup.

Comment from feefifoto
Time July 19, 2009 at 10:31 am

That woman will wear stars on her crown in Heaven.

Comment from Louisse
Time July 19, 2009 at 11:38 pm

Allyson your a charm, a wonderful person with a good kind heart, I hope Precious – renamed Lilly gives you many years of happiness and joy.

Comment from beloveth
Time July 20, 2009 at 2:47 pm

incredible touching story! I know the Lord will reward her this unselfish act more than twice in her life!

Comment from Emily
Time July 21, 2009 at 11:18 am

I am so glad to hear that Allyson was able to step up and save the puppy. Kudos!

As for Mr. Strong, I believe the only freak in his show is himself!

Comment from Linda Shinn
Time August 7, 2009 at 10:14 am

I just read that the sideshow guy, John Strong is now planning on going on one of the TV Court Shows to sue the woman who bought the pup and the guy who sold it to her, because he feels that they both violated his rights, because he had a prior agreement.
Guess he just wants the publicity, but honestly, HE is the REAL freak, in his Freak Show.