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Surgery ends the tale of the five-legged dog

The saga of Lilly the five-legged puppy may be over: She had her fifth leg removed Thursday.

Allyson Siegel, the Charlotte woman who paid $4,000 to rescue the dog from a future in a New York freak show, had the surgery performed Thursday morning – a day after the show’s operator threatened to sue for custody of the dog.

Siegel said the 90-minute amputation went well. Lilly is now recovering at the vet's office, where she is being kept overnight for observation.

"She's alert. She's kind of running around. There were no complications whatsoever," a relieved Siegel said Thursday. "The vet says he expects her to make a full recovery. All four legs work great."

Siegel declined to say exactly where Lilly had the surgery. She had planned the operation for next week, but decided she needed to act Thursday. The media firestorm that has surrounded the dog has become too intense, she said, and she wants seven-week-old Lilly to be able to rest peacefully as she recovers.

"I just want it to be over," she said. Siegel also emphasized that she has no hard feelings for John Strong, the owner of the Coney Island exhibit that features unusual animals. "I have no judgment about him."

Siegel has raised $1,000 through the Animal League of Gaston County, she said, and benefit tomorrow at the Dog Bar in Charlotte’s NoDa district is planned to help cover the cost of the surgery. No word yet on whether Lilly appear.

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