A GREYHOUND breeder who binged on drink and drugs while his dogs starved at his sick mum’s house faces jail.

When police and an RSPCA officer visited the Limes Avenue semi they found one dog stuffed in a freezer, two others dead on the floor and other animals starved.

Owner Clive Elliott admitted he had not been around to feed the dogs for four days.

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

The RSPCA charged Elliott with four counts of animal neglect. But when the 40-year-old failed to turn up at Swindon Magistrates’ Court this week claiming he had sciatica, JPs allowed the case to proceed in his absence.

The four charges against Elliott, of Swindon Road, Stratton, were found proven. Magistrates issued a warrant for his arrest.

Dead in the freezer

The court heard Elliott was a registered greyhound breeder and trainer. His dogs were in kennels at the home of his mum, who has dementia. Elliott visited the house to feed and care for the dogs.

But in the weeks leading up to a joint police and RSPCA visit on April 14 last year, matters had deteriorated.

Matthew Knight, for the RSPCA, 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.

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One of the dogs in its kennel Picture: RSPCA

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 its 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.

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Horrific images show the dogs' condition Picture: RSPCA

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An abcess on the leg of one dog Picture: RSPCA

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The dogs were incredibly thin Picture: RSPCA

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 mum 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.”

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One of the dogs rescued by the RSPCA Picture: RSPCA

Finding the matters against Elliott proven, chairman of the bench Amanda Lee said: “We’ve read the facts, heard what you said and got the pictures. We have also got the fact Mr Elliot himself recognised he had not visited for several days.”

Racing in January

The hounds trainer Clive Elliott was accused of having neglected were racing as recently as January 2019.

Racing cards suggest Gemstone Bobbie, which added a third to its body weight after being rescued from a Pinehurst horror kennel, was at the Swindon track twice that month. “C D Elliott” was the trainer.

Detail of the charges

Elliott was found to have committed the four charges.

He caused unnecessary suffering to a protected animal by failing to provide seven dogs with a suitable diet of adequate nutritional value. He also caused unnecessary suffering by failing to provide one of the animals, called Lily Gadfly, with adequate veterinary care for her oral disease.

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Lily Gadfly was suffering from mouth disease Picture: RSPCA

The Stratton man was charged with two counts of failing to ensure an animal’s needs were met. He was accused of failing to protect the seven dogs from pain, suffering, injury or disease leading to untreated ailments like abscesses and leg ulcers and failing to exercise daily care and supervision.

No charges were brought in relation to the dog found in the freezer.

All but one of the charges relate to a three-week period between March 24 and April 14 last year.

The charges carry a maximum sentence of six months in prison, according to Sentencing Council guidelines. He could also be banned from keeping animals.