Two friends who said they kept a dog locked up in a squalid hot car covered in faeces because it was violent have been banned from keeping animals for five years by magistrates.

Saima Bi, 26, and Kiran Hussain, 19, pleaded guilty at Bradford and Keighley Magistrates’ Court yesterday to causing unnecessary suffering to Bella, a Staffordshire bull terrier type dog, and not giving her a suitable place to live.

They were ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work in a 12-month community order and 15 days of a low-level activity requirement. They will also have to pay £260 each towards the case’s costs.

Magistrates heard a member of the public who tipped off the RSPCA in July that the dog was living in a car parked outside Bi and Hussain’s then home in East Squire Lane, Manningham. The total cost of the RSPCA investigation, legal costs and vet bills came to £2,399.

When RSPCA Inspector Sarah Brisco went to investigate, she found starved Bella curled up on the seat and thought she was dead.

Nigel Monaghan, prosecuting, said the smell in the car had been “overwhelming” and that Insp Brisco had “never in all her experience seen a dog so thin”.

“The dog was almost skeletal with rib and hip bones sticking up clearly visible, faeces was all over the car and there were flies,” he said.

Bi, who now lives in Sunderland Road, Great Horton, until the hearing had insisted she wanted Bella back because she was a guard dog and loved her but she did finally did sign her over to the RSPCA to find a new home.

Defending solicitor Zanfar Khan said her clients both held their hands up to show “remorse and upset”.

Miss Khan said Bi and Hussain, now of Willow Street, Girlington, said it was Bella who got into the car and that because she was violent it was difficult to get her out.

After sentencing, Insp Brisco said Bella was now doing well.