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W. Toledoan welcomes home 5 of 35 Shih Tzus

Humane society helped owner regain control

  • n5shihtzus-4

    One of the five Shih Tzsus returned today smells his the face of his owner, George Francel. Thirty-five Shih Tzus were seized from Mr. Francel earlier this year.

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  • CTY-SHIHTZUS03p-George-Francel

    George Francel sits with all five Shih Tzus that were returned to him.

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  • CTY-SHIHTZUS03p-pets

    George Francel pets one his dogs as they rest in his yard.

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n5shihtzus-4

One of the five Shih Tzsus returned today smells his the face of his owner, George Francel. Thirty-five Shih Tzus were seized from Mr. Francel earlier this year.

THE BLADE/ISAAC HALE
Enlarge | Buy This Image

With tails wagging and tongues hanging, five Shih Tzus were reunited with their owner Wednesday after nearly two months apart.

The Toledo Area Humane Society on May 7 removed 35 Shih Tzus from a Perth Street home in West Toledo, citing unsanitary conditions. The 17 adult dogs and 18 puppies all were in good physical condition, and one female gave birth to seven more puppies shortly after the seizure.

“The stuff that God permits to happen to me always works out for my betterment,” 63-year-old George Francel said. “At the time, I was upset. But as time goes on, you realize God had your best interest at heart.”

Gary Willoughby, director of the humane society, said the organization has been working closely with Mr. Francel to come to a mutual agreement and return a few of his favorite dogs — all spayed and neutered. He will not face any charges.

“He clearly loved them,” Mr. Willoughby said. “His heart was in the right place, but he got in over his head. He was very cooperative with us the whole way. Now that he’s been educated, he’s making positive changes.”

CTY-SHIHTZUS03p-George-Francel

George Francel sits with all five Shih Tzus that were returned to him.

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Mr. Francel and his mother, Vlasta Francel, began breeding the dogs about 11 years ago after she met a friend’s Shih Tzu. He said he continued breeding the dogs after she died last July because he enjoyed them so much. He gave most of the puppies away as gifts, and he estimated that amounted to about 70 dogs over the years.

“There was always one or two left from a litter that didn’t go with the others,” Mr. Francel said. “The longer they stayed, the more attached I got to them, the more they fit in with the pack, and they got names. ... No one could keep up with all of that, but I thought I could.”

He cleaned up his house and backyard, working to satisfy requirements given to him by the humane society and the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department.

“That was what helped me to get things back under control,” he said. “I’m happy that I at least got some of them back and that I won’t repeat the mess I got myself into.

“I’ll keep the house up and I won’t breed,” Mr. Francel said.

One of the dogs he would have gotten back died in surgery recently. The humane society is paying for cremation services and will give the ashes to Mr. Francel. One of the seven puppies born after the seizure also died.

Most of the Shih Tzus are being adopted by their foster families or their family and friends.

As of Wednesday, the humane society had just a 1-year-old adult and two 8-week-old puppies available.

CTY-SHIHTZUS03p-pets

George Francel pets one his dogs as they rest in his yard.

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In the meantime, Mr. Francel’s five remaining dogs have settled right back in at home, and they’re enjoying being spoiled.

“It’s going to be a lot easier to give them more personal attention,” he said.

Mr. Francel is looking forward to being able to travel again because he will have more time and more available funds. He and his mother had traveled across the country with their first four Shih Tzus.

The humane society will check in on Mr. Francel and the dogs regularly to make sure the situation doesn’t repeat itself.

“He’s going to have a better quality of life now, and the dogs will too,” Mr. Willoughby said.

Contact Alexandra Mester: amester@theblade.com, 419-724-6066, or on Twitter @AlexMesterBlade.

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