Animal

Trevor Darville, 47, of Twinsburg has served as the animal warden in Solon for the last four years. His job has been busier than ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, because more people are sitting at home and see animals out their windows. He has good success in finding lost animals.

Lost dogs, found dogs and everything in between – Solon’s animal warden Trevor Darville has not skipped a beat coming out of the coronavirus pandemic.

In fact, Mr. Darville, 47, a resident of Twinsburg, said his job has gotten even more busy since the start of the pandemic.

“I’ve been working around the clock,” said Mr. Darville, who has held the position within the Solon Police Department for the last four years.

With the pandemic resulting in more people staying at home, Mr. Darville’s phone rings that much more, he said.

“People see more, and the calls have increased,” he said.

Not only are residents reporting lost dogs or strays, but also a whole slew of wildlife, including raccoons, coyotes and skunks – all of which fall under Mr. Darville’s purview.

“Any animal still alive in the city, I will deal with it,” he said.

Mr. Darville’s main responsibilities in his role involve maintaining the safety of animals in the city, as well as dealing with wildlife and ensuring that all the city ordinances are obeyed by pet owners. His calls range from lost dogs to dog bites.

He said that throughout the pandemic, more and more people took their dogs for walks to get outside, while others would leave dogs out and often the invisible fence would malfunction.

“I step in and help those dogs get home,” he said. “Finding lost dogs is a big part of my job.”

He posts notices about lost animals on social media sites so entire neighborhoods have a chance to view. If someone finds a dog, he will pick it up. On a weekly basis, he deals with at least three lost dogs and is usually successful in finding their owners, he said.

Some dogs are easier to reunite with their owner if they have a microchip, which Mr. Darville can simply scan to get their owner’s information. He has been hugged many times after bringing a lost pet home.

“It’s always gratifying feeling when you can reunite a dog back to their owners,” he said. “There’s always a good feeling to see the expression on their face when they get their ‘kids’ back.”

Mr. Darville has proudly never been bit, he noted, although he has had one or two dogs that were aggressive.

The most difficult animal he has had to wrangle was a pig, he said with a laugh.

“They’re not as slow as people think.”

Prior to coming to the Solon Police Department, Mr. Darville worked as a deputy at the Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter. His background is in animal training for 15 years working with sea lions, dolphins, sharks and sting rays, to name a few.

Key to approaching animals is staying calm, he said.

Being able to relate to both animals and people is all about just being nice, Mr. Darville said.

“I try to be compassionate and understanding,” he said.

Mr. Darville receives lots of complaints of barking dogs and tries to first give verbal warnings when it comes to a violation.

“I always try to first educate people as a way to deflate the bad behavior,” he said.

Unfortunately, many dogs are “dumped” in Solon from other areas, Mr. Darville continued. If an owner cannot be found after 72 hours, he takes the dog to the county to be put up for adoption.

As winter months approach, Mr. Darville said pet owners should be advised not to leave their pets out in the cold and to limit the duration of walks as road salt can be harmful to paws.

“If it’s cold for us, it will also be cold for them,” he said of pets.

It is also important to be aware of one’s surroundings, he said, such as have smaller pets outside vulnerable to wild animals such as coyotes.

Mr. Darville can be found around town in a specially equipped truck. Everyday on the job is different, he added.

“The most gratifying part is just being able to help,” he said. Mr. Darville has even been known to walk dogs belonging to elderly couples with health issues.

He also has to deliver bad news if someone’s pet is found hit by a car, for example.

Those times are the hardest, he said.

Just last week, he was on the hunt for a lost dog on Harper Road.

“I’m still looking,” he said. “I have pretty good success finding them.”

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