Wichita veterinarian who cared for first police K-9s dies

Dr. Clell Jeffrey Solomon, Sr.
Dr. Clell Jeffrey Solomon, Sr.

Dr. Clell Jeffrey Solomon was known for his good heart.

He loved animals and often took in other people’s castoffs — one of his favorites was a calico cat he called Kiwi because of her exquisite green eyes and who doted on his every move. He also liked dogs and generously provided his services for police dogs.

“In 2003 when we were trying to build a K-9 unit on the department, Dr. Solomon offered to cover all the costs,” said Officer Daniel Widner of the Wichita Police Department. He knew it wouldn’t be a completely funded unit. But he helped the K-9 unit to grow.

Dr. Solomon died Saturday in a car accident. He was 61.

Funeral services are 10 a.m. Friday at University Congregational Church, 9209 E. 29th. Some of the WPD officers and K-9s will be attending the services.

Dr. Solomon was born July 20, 1956 in Coral Gables, Fla. He grew up in Derby and helped his father in an emergency veterinary clinic. During high school, he was active in football, wrestling and baseball. He is a 1975 graduate of Derby High School. He received his doctorate in veterinary medicine in 1983 from Kansas State University.

“He always wanted to give back to the community,” said his wife, Melody Lau-Solomon. “He loved Wichita and believed a resident of Wichita needed to support the smaller businesses that are family-owned.”

He was the owner of the Solomon Veterinary Clinic at 7810 E. Funston.

The first dog he treated for the WPD K-9 unit was named Elza. The dogs are called Police Service Dogs, or PSDs. IN Elza’s case, he paid for her to have major surgery at Kansas State when she fell and broke a leg and injured her back. He also took care of PSD Cassius.

“In 2011, he took on my dog, Cassius, and paid for the surgery when Cassius had some life-threatening cysts that we had to go to Overland Park for,” Officer Weidner said.

Through Dr. Solomon’s network of other veterinarians, the WPD was able to provide veterinary care for all five of its dogs.

“You could tell animals were his life,” Weidner said. “He was so compassionate and whenever we approached him with an ailment, he never hesitated and never thought about the financial risk. He always took care of the dogs first.”

Dr. Solomon practiced for more than three decades. He was a member of the American Animal Hospital Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Kansas Veterinary Medical Association and the American Heartworm Society.

Dr. Solomon is survived by Melody Lau; sons, Clell (Emilia) Jr.; Philip (Emily); Peter J.; daughter, Tiffany M. Lau, and three grandchildren.

Memorial donations can be made in Dr. Solomon’s name to the WPD K-9 Unit, 455 N. Main, Wichita, KS, 67202; the Kansas Humane Society, 3313 N. Hillside, Wichita, KS 67219; or to St. Jude's Children’s Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Pl, Memphis, TN 38105.