A DOG breeder and her husband who kept 14 Red Setters in the "worst conditions ever seen" by an RSPCA inspector have been found guilty of animal cruelty.
Margaret and Gary Mazan had the animals seized by the charity and police on January 15 last year after concerns were raised by a Bradford Council dog warden.
During a raid they found some of the dogs were being kept in filthy cages in a shed, and others in cramped cages in the kitchen of their house in Swain House Road, Swain House, Bradford.
The Mazans were found guilty of seven breaches of the Animal Welfare Act by magistrates in Bradford yesterday after a two day trial.
The court heard the couple had caused unnecessary suffering to some of the dogs by failing to seek veterinary care for a condition affecting their eyes, and injuries to their tails.
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All of the animals were also found to be dehydrated due to a lack of fresh drinking water, and had not been provided with a suitable diet.
Dingle Clark, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, said Margaret Mazan, 53, had shown and bred setters for more than ten years, with dogs that were not needed for showing being sold to other owners.
The animals had been kept at the property in Swain House Road since the family moved from Leeds in February 2013.
The following month, the RSPCA visited the house and served a warning notice due to the conditions the dogs were being kept in.
The notice had been adhered to by the time they visited again in April 2013, but towards the end of that year, concerns over the welfare of the animals was raised again by a dog warden.
He went to see the Mazans, but was refused access to the property, prompting the call to the RSPCA.
Margaret Mazan chose not to give evidence in court yesterday, but Gary Mazan, 51, a long-distance lorry driver, said it was wife who had responsibility for the dogs.
He told Bradford and Keighley Magistrates' Court he had been away working for two days when the RSPCA visited the house on January 15 last year and said "everything had been fine" when he left, with the dogs not being kept in the cages at that time.
When asked by Mr Clark whether he was trying to avoid his share of responsibility for the animals, he replied: "No, it's my wife's hobby, and they're her dogs."
Sean Smith, defending the couple, said Gary Mazan was not an owner of the dogs, arguing there was a "huge gulf between helping out and being responsible for an animal's welfare".
Mr Smith also stated the dogs had been kept in cages due to the dangers of them getting out through a hole in the shed's door.
After magistrates found both defendants guilty of all seven counts against them, Allie Coward, chairman of the bench, told Gary Mazan he was "jointly-responsible for the care and control of the dogs".
"Neither defendant took any steps to ensure the dogs were kept in a suitable environment to live," she said.
"You both bred and showed dogs, and you should have known they were suffering."
Miss Coward asked for full reports to be prepared, and granted the Mazans unconditional bail ahead of a sentencing hearing at the same court next month.
Speaking after the case, Emma Ellis, an RSPCA inspector for Bradford who attended the scene and helped to seize the animals, said she was delighted by the guilty verdicts.
"These were the worst conditions I've ever seen dogs kept in," she said.
"When the shed was opened, the smell literally knocked you over, you had to back off.
"It was a horrific way to keep animals. They couldn't move and their fur was all matted and covered in faeces.
"Some had injuries to their tails where they had been crushed against the cages.
"The way they were being kept was just wholly unacceptable."
All the dogs remain in the care of the RSPCA.