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January 25 2021
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Five legged puppy saved from life in a Coney Island freak show


I don't usually write about genetic anomalies or animal sideshows, but this is a great story about people coming to the aid of a puppy and a last minute happy ending.

Precious the Chihuahua was born four weeks ago with a fifth leg protruding from her stomach. When the story ran in the Gaston Gazette (NC), owner Calvin Owensby said that he couldn't afford to have the leg amputated. Quickly many people stepped up and offered to help pay for the surgery.

After an x-ray a local veterinarian agreed to amputate the leg in a few months when Precious is large enough. He didn't believe the leg indicated any internal problems but he thought it might "cause discomfort" as she grew older. There is also no feeling in the leg which might cause problems as she gets more active.

However that same day Owensby returned a phone call and agreed to sell the dog for $3000 to a New York sideshow owner, John Strong.

It looked like Precious would keep her fifth leg forever and join a two headed snake, a two headed cow and 25 other genetic anomalies in an animal freak show on Coney Island. Strong said he had been trying to get a five-legged dog for several years.

"You don't find a five-legged dog just anywhere, you know," Strong said

(I don't care what you say, that is a funny line.) Owensby has been unemployed since January. "I'm sad. I'm really sad. But we're going through hard times. We don't want to do it but we have to."

When the news hit, Owensby was besieged with phone calls, most berating him, but one caller Allyson Siegel, 45, of Charlotte, offered to buy Precious for $4000.

"Poor thing, she was headed for a terrible life," Siegel said. "As a kid, I'd been to a fair, and I'd been to all these sideshows, and I just didn't think it was right for her."

Owensby said he did not realize what kind of a show Precious was headed for when he agreed to sell her. "He didn't tell me it was a freak show. He told me it was an amazing animals show."


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