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A five-legged puppy was saved from life in a Coney Island freak show thanks to a kindhearted Southerner who paid $4,000 for the pooch.
Allyson Siegel, 45, of Charlotte, N.C., outbid a Brooklyn freak show operator to buy the pup because she couldn't bear the thought of the Chihuahua-terrier mix ending up at the sideshow that featured disfigured animals, the Charlotte Observer reported.
Sideshow owner John Strong, who heard about the puppy through a friend, had paid Owensby $1,000 as a deposit on a $3,000 agreement so he could add the pup to his "Freaks of Nature" show.
Otherwise healthy, the puppy was born in a litter of six at Calvin Owensby's Chihuahua Diamond about six weeks ago. Owensby, an electrician unemployed since December, said he needed the money.
"[Precious] wasn't a freak, she was just a dog born with five legs," Owensby told the News. "My girlfriend decided she didn't want to see her in a freak show."
Siegel changed the puppy's name from Precious to Lilly and plans to spend an additional $2,000 to have the extra appendage removed. Surgery is set in two weeks. The fifth leg, which trips Lilly as she tries to walk, hangs limply between the puppy's two back legs.
"I called Calvin and I said, 'I understand this is about money,' and I just said, 'How much?'" Siegel told the New York Daily News. "She's beautiful, she's not a freak, she's a normal little puppy dog and she should be just like all the others."
Following the surgery, Siegel -- who already has six cats -- plans to give Lilly to her sister in Charlotte.
Strong, who got his deposit back, said he would have given Lilly a good life. Though he's disappointed, he said, "Sometimes, you just gotta say, 'OK, I still have nine live, two-headed animals' and move on.''