A GREYHOUND trainer has been jailed for 20 weeks and banned from owning dogs for life after he left his dogs to starve in their Swindon kennel.

Clive Elliott was in the throes of depression after the breakup of a relationship and abusing prescription medication. The greyhound trainer and breeder, who had inherited a number of dogs from his late father, left the animals unfed for around four days.

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. A vet suggested the dogs had been subject to weeks or possibly months of neglect.

While Elliott, 40, of Swindon Road, Lower Stratton, admitted four counts of animal neglect his solicitor appeared to suggest the situation was not as bad as prosecuting authority the RSPCA had made out.

Terry McCarthy, defending, said: “Mr Elliot knows about greyhounds from his father and would say the condition was not as bad as is being made out, but he does accept he didn’t care for the dogs and that was because he was very ill.” It was claimed Elliott had had the dogs checked by vets at the dog track.

The case against Elliott

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. Charges had not been brought in relation to that dog’s death.

“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 its condition deteriorated.

Swindon Advertiser:

Lily Gadfly was suffering from mouth disease Picture: RSPCA

Swindon Advertiser:

An abscess on the leg of one dog Picture: RSPCA

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.”


Mr McCarthy said his client had inherited dogs after the death of his father in 2014. The animals had been kept at his mother’s home in Pinehurst.

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.”

The former dog breeder was a man of previous good character.


Magistrates sentenced Elliott to 20 weeks imprisonment and banned from owning dogs for life. He must pay £750 costs and a £122 victim surcharge.

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.