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Tag: lilly

TV show judge rules for freak show impresario

jeanine_pirro_2006_1Boo, hiss and three thumbs down to TV Judge Jeanine Pirro.

The one-time real judge, loser in her race for New York attorney general and a regular on the TV talking head circuit has ruled that freak show owner John Strong was wronged when a North Carolina man pulled out of an agreement to sell Strong a five-legged dog.

A contract is a contract, the heartless TV judge ruled.

Fortunately, being a TV judge, her ruling has no real impact — other than provide some network bucks to Strong, whose Coney Island freak show features 27 odd animals, including a two-headed turtle named Pete and Repeat, a six-legged cow and an eight-legged pig.

Calvin Owensby of Gastonia, N.C. had agreed to sell the five-legged puppy formerly known as Precious to Strong on June 29. Strong sent Owensby $1,000, with a promise of $2,000 more when Precious got to New York.

Owensby, an unemployed electrician, researched Strong, and learned he makes his living displaying freaks.  When he received a call from Allyson Siegel of Charlotte, N.C., offering $4,000 in an attempt to save the pup from growing up on public display, he accepted her offer, and returned Strong’s $1,000.

Siegel renamed the dog  Lilly and quickly had the extra leg removed.

Strong sued for breach of contract.

“We’ve got a contract, and the defendant broke it, pure and simple,” Pirro ruled. Strong will receive $4,000 in damages, paid off by the TV show, the Charlotte Observer reports.

Strong said after the taping that he’s thrilled with the decision, and that after the show airs Sept. 8 he plans to sue Siegel to reclaim the dog — even though she only has four legs now. Siegel did not take part in the TV show.

In 1993, Pirro was the first woman elected  district attorney in Westchester County, N.Y., a position she held through 2005. In 1997, the well-coiffed DA was voted one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People.” A Republican, she lost the state attorney general election to Andrew Cuomo in November.

Sideshow owner headed to TV court



sheepClaiming he was gypped out of a five-legged dog, freak show owner John Strong is taking his case to court — TV court.

Strong’s breach of contract case against Calvin Owensby, who reneged on his offer to sell Strong the dog for use in his Coney Island sideshow, will be heard next Wednesday in the studio courtroom of the show “Judge Jeanine Pirro.”

The hearing will air on Sept. 21, the Gaston Gazette reported. Representatives of the program approached Strong about airing the case on TV.

Owensby, of Gastonia, agreed to sell Strong his five-legged Chihuahua puppy for $3,000 in late June.  The next day day Allyson Siegel, of Charlotte, offered Owensby $4,000 for the dog, hoping to spare it from life as a sideshow exhibit. Owensby, who’d acecpted a deposit from Strong, canceled the earlier deal, returned the deposit and sold the puppy to Siegel.

lillian2Siegel, who renamed the dog — from Precious to Lilly — had  the dog’s fifth leg amputated two weeks ago, immediately after hearing Strong planned to take legal action to prevent the amputation.

“I’m a very good talker. I can make my points come across,” Strong told the Gazette. “I’m just not going to stay quiet on this because I don’t want the general public to perceive me as a bad person, and this woman is perceived as a hero.”

The television show will pay Strong the $4,000 if Owensby loses the case, according to a spokesperson from the show.

Strong said he resents accusations that he would humiliate the dog and treat it poorly at his sideshow.

“No animal has the intelligence to know if they’re humiliated or not,” he said.

I’m not a big fan of justice being dispensed on TV shows, but here’s hoping Strong gets totally and publicly humiliated by Judge Jeanine — not that, judging from the case he’s presented so far, he’d necessarily realize it if he was.

Lilly is a five-legged dog no more

Coney Island sideshow owner John Strong has threatened to file a lawsuit to get the five-legged dog he was promised, but even if he does have a legal leg to stand on it could be a moot point — Lilly’s extra leg was removed today.

The dog’s new owner, Allyson Siegel — who purchased Lilly for $4,000 from Calvin Owensby, outbidding Strong to save the dog from life as a sideshow freak — says the 6-week-old terrier-Chihuahua mix had the surgery at a veterinarian’s office, according to PEOPLE magazine.

“Last night I called the surgeon and said, ‘Will you take a look at her to see if she’s healthy enough, see if you think that she could possibly have the surgery now?’ And he did, and she did,” Siegel said. The operation was successful and the dog is recovering.

Siegel, whose story was originally reported in the New York Daily News, says she will pay for the surgery bill — which could total up to $2,000 — with donations that she’s received from several people who have heard of the dog’s plight.

“In my mind it’s kind of over. Just let it be over,” she says, referring to Strong’s legal threats. “I’m very happy that Lilly is fine and that she’s going to be a normal dog. And get to have a normal life and not be in a cage. I don’t personally have anything against him, Mr. Strong, I don’t know him. This was really always about Lilly.”

Strong told the Charlotte Observer Wednesday that  he was the rightful owner of Lilly because the pup’s original owner, Owensby, of Gastonia, N.C., broke an implied contract to sell him the dog. Strong paid Owensby a $1,000 deposit.  But Owensby decided to sell the pup to a Charlotte woman after media reports of the freak-show deal sparked an outcry from animal advocates.

Upon hearing of his planned legal steps, Siegel expedited the dog’s surgery.

Prior to the surgery, the puppy couldn’t sit, walk or lay properly because of the extra leg (which had six toes and protruded from her stomach). “She’d struggle to run up a hill or walk up a hill because she had to tug that thing behind her,” says Siegel.

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.”

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