Category Archives: greyhound racing

Pinehurst, Swindon, Wiltshire: Clive Elliott

#TheList greyhound breeder/trainer Clive Donald Elliott, born 19/11/1979, of 35 Limes Avenue, Swindon SN2 1QQ – convicted of multiple counts of cruelty towards dogs in his care

Clive Elliott

Clive Elliott binged on drink and drugs while his dogs starved in kennels at the home he now shares with his mother. When police and an RSPCA officer visited the property they found one dog stuffed in a freezer, two others dead on the floor and other animals starved.

The greyhound trainer and breeder, who had inherited a number of dogs from his late father, left the animals unfed for around four days.

 The shocking conditions some of Clive Elliott’s greyhounds were found in

The shocking conditions some of Clive Elliott’s greyhounds were found in

But a vet who examined the stricken animals after they were rescued from their kennel suggested the dogs had been subject to weeks or possibly months of neglect.

RSPCA prosecutor Matthew Knight said officers had found eight dogs. Three were dead, including one that had been put into a bin liner and stuffed into a chest freezer.

“There was no dog food whatsoever in the property,” the solicitor said.

The five other dogs were in a poor condition. Their nails were overgrown, some had abscesses and scurvy.

An abscess on the leg of one dog
An abscess on the leg of one dog

One of the animals had a severe mouth ulcer, which Elliott later admitted knowing about. The dog initially wolfed down food but died a week later after his condition deteriorated.

Autopsies were carried out on the dead dogs. The bone marrow of one was a glutinous liquid – the result of poor nutrition. The vet said it would have taken weeks or possibly months to reach that stage.

As an example of how poorly nourished the greyhounds were, Mr Knight said one dog had increased in weight by a third in just one month after it was taken from the house. He said: “The vet puts this purely down to providing the proper food.”

Interviewed by the authorities, Elliott said matters had deteriorated after the breakdown of a relationship. He had turned to drink and drugs and did not ask for help as he was “too proud”.

Shameless dog killer: Clive Elliott pictured outside court
Shameless dog killer: Clive Elliott pictured outside court

He told the RSPCA his mother, who has dementia, would have fed them had there been any dog food. He added: “There wasn’t any food for my mum that’s how low I was.”

The dogs Elliott was accused of having neglected were racing as recently as January 2019. Racing cards suggest Gemstone Bobbie, who added a third to his body weight after being rescued, was at the Swindon track twice that month. “C D Elliott” was the trainer

Elliott’s lawyer Terry McCarthy of Jeary & Lewis Solicitors said his client had inherited dogs after the death of his father in 2014.

He had owned his own printing business and was looking after the dogs on the side. He changed jobs, working night shifts and caring for the animals during the day.

He found he was not coping well and, when his relationship broke down, matters spiralled.

“Things went wrong there and Mr Elliott was affected by the breakdown,” Mr McCarthy said.

“It seems some dogs were removed from him by someone his ex-partner met and the problems with the breakdown and the lack of income got in top of him.

Shameless dog killer: Clive Elliott pictured outside court

“There is reference to the back problem you have heard about for which he has been prescribed medication.”

Elliott had been abusing prescription medication on top of that. “It’s my feeling that Mr Elliott was suffering at the time from severe depression. It’s unfortunate that he didn’t go and see a doctor and there is no medical evidence to confirm it.

“It’s quite obvious that as a result of that depression he wasn’t coping with anything.

“You’ve read in the report he couldn’t bring himself to look after his mother properly – as well as his dogs.

“Some of the dogs I think you’ve heard about were owned by another person. That person did not provide food for them either.

“Mr Elliott had no money.”

Chairman of the bench Jane Durrant said Elliott had shown no evidence of remorse.

“The pictures we have been shown are extremely distressing and the number of dogs and the level of suffering they endured is really quite appalling,” she said.

“The distress caused to these dogs was just quite unbelievable.”

Elliott did not appear to react as the sentence was read out.

Sentencing: 20 weeks’ imprisonment. Ordered to pay a total of £872 costs and charges. Banned from owning dogs for life.

Swindon Advertiser

Glasgow: Chris Sillars

#TheList greyhound trainer Chris Sillars, based in the West of Scotland (further info to follow)

The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) has banned trainer Chris Sillars from racing after neglecting a dog so badly she had to be euthanised. A legal prosecution case may now follow.

A kennel inspector who discovered the emaciated black greyhound bitch, Dudleys Forever, said it was “the worst condition of a greyhound I have seen”.

The dog, who originally raced in Ireland before being exported to Scotland, weighed just over 16kg, with a body score of 1/5, and was put down by a vet a few hours later.

An inquiry by the disciplinary committee of the GBGB was held in December 2019 and found that Sillars had breached animal welfare rules.

A GBGB report said a steward at Glasgow’s Shawfield Stadium, Alex McTaggart, made a routine visit to Sillars’ kennels on 2 September 2019. Mr McTaggart reported that one kennel block had nine greyhounds and there were four greyhounds in another non-registered block previously deemed unusable.

The GBGB’s report said: “One of these dogs, Dudleys Forever, a black bitch that had last raced at Shawfield on 24 November 2018, was in such poor condition that Mr McTaggart described it as ‘the worst condition of a greyhound I have seen’.

Video evidence was presented to the committee. Mr McTaggart said that in his opinion this was a matter of animal cruelty.

“Mr McTaggart said that on the same afternoon as his visit, he had spoken by telephone to Mr Sillars who had informed him that Dudleys Forever was eating well, and had been to the vet two months previously. Mr McTaggart told Mr Sillars that the bitch needed to see a vet as a matter of urgency.

The report continued: “Mr Sillars complied and took the greyhound to Abbey Vet Group later that day. The veterinary report was given in evidence and stated that the bitch weighed 16.3 kg with a body condition score of 1/5. Further tests were not undertaken, and the bitch was euthanased.”

The committee was told that the following day McTaggart met Sillars who accepted it was not true that Dudleys Forever had been seen by a vet recently. The dog had last been seen by a vet on 2 December 2018 – 10 months earlier.

The GBGB’s disciplinary committee viewed this as “a clear case of animal abuse” and moved to ban Sillars from racing.

The GBGB report concluded: “The distressing video clip endorsed the opinion of a highly experienced stipendiary steward that this was the worst condition of a greyhound he had ever seen, and the committee concurred. The committee deplored the neglect of this greyhound and concluded that Mr Sillars had treated the greyhound with cruelty and in such a manner as to cause the greyhound unnecessary suffering.

“The deliberate decision of Mr Sillars not to seek veterinary attention was wholly unacceptable. The committee considered the offence to be a prima facie breach of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 and urged the GBGB to send the details of the case to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in Edinburgh.”

Say No To Greyhound Racing In Scotland said: “The treatment of racing greyhounds in Scotland is absolutely appalling and this trainer must be prosecuted and feel the full force of the law. We would also like to see criminal prosecutions where greyhounds are doped with Class A and human prescription drugs.

“To date there have been no prosecutions in Scotland with 14 GBGB confirmed doping cases in the last two years at Shawfield track in Glasgow which includes five for cocaine. We will continue to campaign for as long as it takes to shut this disgraceful industry down in Scotland.”

A spokesperson for GBGB, said: “We have the highest expectations of welfare and care in our sport so there is no place in it for trainers like Mr Sillars. This was a clear case of animal neglect and cruelty and the independent disciplinary committee has rightly decided to remove Mr Sillars’ licence, ensuring that he is never allowed to participate in our sport again.”

Reporters from The Ferret asked to see the video evidence presented to GBGB but it declined to release it.

The Ferret reported in October 2019 that dozens of greyhounds at Shawfield had been doped. Steroids, beta-blockers and prohormones – used by bodybuilders – were among other prohibited substances found in the bloodstreams of greyhounds at the Glasgow stadium since 2009.

Five of the 28 positive tests at Shawfield – Scotland’s only licensed track – involved cocaine, which is potentially fatal for dogs and can lead to seizures, strokes and heart attacks.

As well as those incidents, a trainer based in Edinburgh who races in England had three dogs tested positive for banned substances.

Source: The Ferret

Chips Farm Kennels, Ormskirk: Greyhound Trainer Richard Whelan and Others

#TheList greyhound trainer Richard Whelan, born c.1980, and kennel hands Gary Morley, Barry Murphy, Ian Orr and Jake Parkinson all of Chips Farm Kennels, Southport Road, Scarisbrick, Ormskirk L40 8HE – doped racing dogs with Viagra, birth control pills and pig sedatives

Richard Whelan (left) is disqualified from working with racing greyhounds as is kennel-hand Gary Morley (pictured)
Richard Whelan (left) is disqualified indefinitely from working with racing greyhounds along with four kennel-hands including Gary Morley (pictured)

Ten greyhounds in the charge of trainer Richard Whelan were “routinely” handed banned substances – including sedatives meant for pigs.

The Greyhound Board of Great Britain also banned four of Whelan’s kennel-hands for their involvement as animal welfare campaigners renewed calls for a clampdown on the racing industry’s doping scandal.

Sildenafil – Viagra’s active ingredient – was found in a sample taken from a dog called Skywalker Stevie, who had run at the Hall Green track in Birmingham.

The erection-boosting sex drug is said to give greyhounds an advantage by increasing their blood pressure and heart rate in the early stages of a race.

Richard Whelan is disqualified from working with racing greyounds following a doping scandal
Former greyhound trainer Richard Whelan

Nine other dogs handled by Whelan, 38, and kennel hands Gary Morley, Barry Murphy, Ian Orr and Jake Parkinson were found to have been doped.

Among the nine, seven were found to have consumed norethisterone – a key chemical in birth control pills used to suppress oestrogen in female dogs, so they can continue racing while in heat.

Three were also found to have ingested a pig sedative capable of slowing down a greyhound to potentially change a race result.

And another champion racer, Leonas Lark, tested positive for ­performance-boosting minoxidil – the active ingredient in men’s hair loss ­treatment Regaine.

Pills meant for treating malaria in humans and cramp in dogs were also seized during a 2017 raid of The Kennels, which is no longer in use.

Tim Morris, a scientific advisor for the greyhound authority, said: “The regime at the kennels was one in which the abuse of doping substances was frequent, if not routine.”

The board said Whelan placed “reckless trust” in them.

The banned trainer later admitted the test results were “very strange” but denied any knowledge of greyhounds being drugged and blamed jealous rivals.

He claimed the door to the kennels at Hall Green racetrack were unlocked between races.

He told us: “A lot of people did not like us training dogs.

We were very good at training dogs. We had a lot of winners.”

He said his ban was “a disgusting decision. I walked out of the hearing.

I understand being fined, but to be fined that amount and banned… it is a shambles.”

Flyer by campaign group Caged Nationwide
Flyer by campaign group Caged Nationwide

Greyhound racing has been blighted with doping claims for years and welfare experts say efforts to clean up the sport are failing.

Rita James, of greyhound protection group CAGED, said: “We think more can be done, most definitely.

In our view, race-fixing and doping is commonplace.

“People are putting dogs at risk to line their own pockets.”

Whelan claimed he dealt with the “money-side of the business” and “trusted the kennel-hands”.

Sentencing: all five men were each fined £5,000 and disqualified indefinitely from working with racing greyhounds.

Mirror

Seaham, County Durham: Dave Smith

#TheList Dave Smith, born c. 1949, of Adam and Eve Cottage, Northdene Avenue, Seaham SR7 7BH – killed thousands of ex-racing greyhounds with a bolt gun and buried them at his home

Dave Smith from Seaham is said to have killed thousands of former racing greyhounds with a bolt gun
Dave Smith from Seaham is said to have killed thousands of former racing greyhounds with a bolt gun. Despite this, he was never charged with animal cruelty.

The prosecution of Dave Smith was brought by the Environment Agency after police ruled that the ‘Seaham Slaughterer’ as he came to be known would not face criminal charges in relation to the destruction of the dogs.

Dave Smith from Seaham is said to have killed thousands of former racing greyhounds with a bolt gun. Photo shows Smith leading two greyhounds to their deaths.
Smith was photographed by a reporter leading two greyhounds to the kill zone. The dogs were later identified as two-year-olds Clash Nitro and Rent a Flyer, bred and raised in Ireland before being sold off.

It had been claimed that Smith had shot about 10,000 dogs, but magistrates were told the figure was nowhere near that. It was conceded that he had put down two dogs a week for two years at a cost of £10 a time.

Dave Smith from Seaham is said to have killed thousands of former racing greyhounds with a bolt gun. This photo shows Smith returning with the bodies of the same two dogs in a wheelbarrow
The shocking footage shows Smith returning moments later with the bodies of the same two dogs in a wheelbarrow

While Smith was questioned by police, it was confirmed the bolt gun used to kill the retired greyhounds was held legitimately.

There are unconfirmed reports that Smith also disposed of dogs for the police and local authority.

Enquiries by the RSPCA concluded that there was no indication animal cruelty laws had been broken.

A spokeswoman for the charity said if used properly a bolt gun was a humane method of killing dogs and there had been no evidence that Smith had killed the greyhounds inhumanely.

Following a six-month investigation, the Environment Agency prosecuted him under legislation used to restrict the dumping of waste.

Dave Smith from Seaham is said to have killed thousands of former racing greyhounds with a bolt gun

Smith admitted a single charge under the Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) Regulations that, on 12 July 2006 he disposed of waste – the bodies of deceased dogs – on land without a permit.

Greyhound protection group Greyhound Action (now defunct) held a protest outside the court and said it was disgraceful that the dog racing industry itself was not in the dock.

Sentencing: £2,000 fine for environmental breaches

BBC News

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2019 update:
Dave Smith still runs a building supplies business Dave Smith Builders Merchants & DIY based in Lord Street, Seaham SR7 7JH. At the time of his prosecution, many local people came forward to support Smith, claiming that he was only meeting a demand from the greyhound industry.

In June 2019 a documentary on animal cruelty within the greyhound industry by Irish TV channel RTE entitled RTÉ Investigates: Greyhounds Running for Their Lives highlighted the Smith case and made the shocking discovery that many Irish knackeries, including Larry Earle Ltd of Camolin, Co Wexford, and John Styles & Son Ltd, will willingly provide a similar service today.