Community & Culture

Published on July 25th, 2009 | by Jace Shoemaker-Galloway

Lilly the 5-Legged Dog: Animal Lovers Step Up and Keep Pup from Freak Show

Chihuahua Puppy


A little dog has made a great big impression on many people around the country over the past few days.  Lilly, a charming Chihuahua-terrier mix, was born in North Carolina along with several other siblings.  But Lilly was born with something extra, a fifth leg.  Otherwise healthy, Lilly’s extra rear leg would hang and drag, making it difficult for her to walk.

Her story caught the attention of a freak show promoter from Coney Island, New York.  John Strong, owner of the Freaks of Nature show, paid a $1,000 deposit for the pup, according to reports.  But when animal lover Allyson Siegel heard about the pending puppy’s plight, she contacted the owner and paid $4,000 out of her own pocket for the puppy, sparing “Precious” a sad life in a freakish sideshow.   The Charlotte resident renamed the precious pooch Lilly.

Allyson is not the only person moved by this touching story of the tiny little dog.  The Charlotte community stepped up with a fundraiser and raffle to raise money and help defray costs incurred by Allyson.   And Dr. Neil Shaw, from the NYC Veterinary Specialists in Manhattan, heard about the story and volunteered to remove the pup’s leg, at no cost.

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After all the hoopla, little Lilly underwent a 90-minute surgical procedure on Thursday to remove her extra leg and is recovering nicely.  And for the very first time in her young life,  she can run and jump like any other four-legged pooch.  But freak show owner, Strong, is allegedly demanding the amputated leg be frozen in order for reattachment, according to a report from AMNY, and may be considering legal action.

Siegel plans to give Lilly to her twin sister, once the stitches are removed.  To find out more about Lilly’s condition or see more of her in action, visit YouTube.

Update:  John Strong has filed a $4,000 lawsuit against original owner Cavlin Owensby and the case is headed for TV court.  Judge Jeanine Pirro will hear the case and the show is expected to air September 21st, 2009.

Picture courtesy of ToronJazul on Flickr under Creative Commons License.

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About the Author

Until recently, Jace worked for her local school district teaching technology and Internet safety to young children. Today, Jace is a busy fulltime freelance writer.

Although the majority of her work focuses on parenting, children, technology and environmental concerns, she is also passionate about issues concerning animals.

As a former newspaper columnist, Jace’s work can be seen both online and off. While most of her day is spent writing, she also works as an online safety educator and most importantly, a mom.

  • Marilyn

    It's great to hear that there are people such as you out there, trying to make a difference in the lives of animals…Lord knows where this little fellow would have ended up without your help… If you would like to read about one couples small effort at animal rescue, please check out Thank you…

  • Why would he want the dog back? The surgery is complete and the dog is normal and very happy. We are behind you Allyson!

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