A BRADFORD couple have finally been jailed for keeping 14 dogs in the "worst conditions ever seen" by an RSPCA inspector who helped to rescue the stricken animals.

Gary and Margaret Mazan were banned from keeping any animals for life and jailed by magistrates for 26 weeks in April last year. The sentence was later reduced to four months imprisonment during a subsequent appeal at Bradford Crown Court.

The pair then took the case to the High Court in a bid to quash the sentence, but their pleas were thrown out at the end of last month.

Judge Robert Bartfield activated the four-month sentences today, stating he "totally accepted" evidence provided by the RSPCA and police.

The couple, who had reportedly shown and bred dogs for more than a decade, were originally found guilty of a spate of offences under the Animal Welfare Act following a trial in March last year, with magistrates labelling their actions as the "most heinous act of animal cruelty" they had ever seen.

During the couple's trial, the court heard that 14 Red Setters had been seized by the RSPCA and police from the Mazan's home in Swain House Road, Swain House, Bradford, in January 2014.

Twelve of the dogs, described as fully-grown adults, were discovered in "squalid" puppy cages in a garden shed, the front of which had been barricaded shut with wooden pallets and posts.

Another dog was found in the couple's kitchen with items piled up on top of its cage, and the final animal was found in the bathroom of the house, with faeces and pools of yellow liquid on the floor.

All of the dogs needed de-matting and required veterinary treatment for dehydration, injured tails, and eye conditions.

During today's hearing at Bradford Crown Court, prosecutor Kyra Badman said the Mazans' appeal against their conviction had been dismissed by the High Court on February 28.

The Mazans represented themselves during the proceedings, and despite another plea to re-open the case, Judge Bartfield revoked their public funding certificate for any further legal aid.

When given her opportunity to talk about the sentence, Margaret Mazan, 55, told the court she felt it was "incredibly severe."

"My heart was ripped out the day my dogs were taken," she said.

"The RSPCA have created a history that was not there.

"I do not have an issue with going to prison, but we are on the threshold of losing our house and everything."

Gary Mazan, 52, added: "I think the sentence is extreme, but it's up to you."

Judge Bartfield said that while the sentencing process had been delayed by the case going to the High Court, the sentences passed following the initial appeal still applied.

"We have heard nothing to persuade us to change those sentences," he said.

"This was serious abuse of those unfortunate dogs.

"We totally accept the evidence of the RSPCA and the police.

"The criticisms by Mrs Mazan we wholly reject, and the sentence stands."

The court was told that boarding and veterinary costs for the dogs had run to more than £45,000, and an order to recoup £4,976 from the Mazans to cover the legal costs of the appeal hearings was refused after the pair said they had no savings, with Margaret Mazan claiming she had just £45 in the bank.

After the case, Emma Ellis, the RSPCA inspector for Bradford who saw and described the conditions where the dogs were found, said: "I am very pleased the judge has accepted our evidence and upheld the sentences.

"The dogs have all been re-homed successfully, and their well-being is the most important thing."