Lilly, the five-legged puppy at the center of a tug of war this week between a Charlotte, N.C., dog-lover and a Coney Island, N.Y., sideshow owner, had her extra appendage removed Thursday, PEOPLE Pets has learned.
The dog's new owner, Allyson Siegel — who purchased Lilly for $4,000 from Calvin Owensby, and outbid sideshow owner John Strong — says the 6-week-old terrier-Chihuahua mix had the surgery at a veterinarian's office, but preferred not to disclose the location. The operation took place amid reports that Strong was planning to file a lawsuit to get the dog back.
"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 tells PEOPLE Pets. Though the dog is still recovering and will not return home for another 24 to 36 hours, Siegel says she's "doing great. She's recovering well, no complications."
'This was always about Lilly'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."
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.
When she returns home, the dog will be running around like any other puppy — though she'll have to wear a cone to prevent her from biting her stitches. "She's got a lot of energy,” Siegel says of the Lilly's personality. "She plays hard and sleeps hard."