TV judge rules in freak show owner's favor over Lilly, the puppy born with five legs
We told you last week that Lilly's case was going to court -- and not just any court. Freak show owner John Strong took Lilly's original owner, Calvin Owensby, to Judge Jeanine Pirro's televised courtroom over what he said was a breach of contract.
Owensby agreed to sell Lilly to Strong for $3,000, but when local media in his native North Carolina reported his intention, the public outcry was intense. Owensby received numerous calls from animal lovers decrying his decision, but one caller, Allyson Siegel, didn't berate him -- she offered a competing bid for the puppy. Owensby agreed to sell the puppy to Siegel instead for $4,000 -- $3,000 to match Strong's offer and an additional $1,000 to repay a deposit Strong had already paid for the puppy.
Strong vowed to fight to get Lilly back, and Siegel responded by promptly getting the puppy to a veterinary surgeon to amputate her fifth leg. The surgery went smoothly, and Lilly has been recovering nicely in the weeks since the surgery.
But things took a turn yesterday, when Judge Pirro ruled in Strong's favor.
The Associated Press reports on the events of yesterday's TV taping, which is set to air in September:
"We've got a contract, and the defendant broke it, pure and simple," Pirro said.
She also sided with Strong in Owensby's countersuit for intentional infliction of emotional distress, ruling that while the situation was undoubtedly stressful, Strong couldn't be blamed.
Strong said after the taping that he's thrilled with the decision.
"This is such an emotional case, and it could've gone either way," he said. "I just wish I'd met Calvin before all this happened."
Strong has also said that, after the episode airs, he plans to launch another lawsuit -- this one aimed at reclaiming Lilly from Siegel. And the fact that the puppy no longer has an extra appendage doesn't seem to be a consideration.
"I certainly am not chasing four-legged dogs around the world," he told the Associated Press. "Because of the cuteness of the dog ... I would still like to have the dog."
-- Lindsay Barnett
Photo: Lilly in a July 16 photo. Credit: Jeff Siner / Associated Press