#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 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.
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.
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”.
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.
“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.