A PET owner who let her cats and dogs starve in "appalling" conditions in her house has been jailed.

Tracey Tindall, 46, left some dead animals to decompose while other emaciated pets were barely alive, and even ate other dead animals to try and survive, magistrates heard today.

Tindall, who had alcohol, depression and anxiety issues and was struggling to cope with her ill mother, was sentenced to 18 weeks imprisonment after admitting 20 animal neglect charges.

Sentencing her to 18 weeks imprisonment, and banning her from keeping animals for 20 years, chairman of the bench, Beryl Eakin, said it was prolonged neglect with many animals suffering and dying.

After the case, RSPCA Inspector Rachel Evans said she had never faced such horrors in 12 years.

She said: "This was a truly disturbing and upsetting case. We found two decomposing rabbits and one decomposing emaciated Mastif type dog outside the property. This was a hint of the horrors that awaited us inside."

Insp Evans said they found three emaciated dogs, four barely alive cats and a barely alive bearded dragon inside the property.

"We found the decomposing remains of a further eight cats and dogs and the body parts of an unknown number of cats that had been eaten by the remaining animals in a desperate attempt to stay alive."

Insp Evans added: "Three of the bodies found in the property were of young puppies. They had been confined to a training crate in the kitchen, without access to food and water, and had been left to die. The mother to the puppies, Heidi, was one of the surviving dogs. The fact that Heidi will have watched and heard her puppies slowly and painfully pass away in a metal training crate, without being able to access them, must have caused her unimaginable heartache and stress. That thought and image will remain with me for a very long time."

Bradford and Keighley Magistrates Court was told that RSPCA inspectors attended Tindall's two-bedroomed semi-detached property, in Lymington Drive, Holme Wood, Bradford, last November.

Andrew Davidson, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said the officers found a number of animals, mostly cats and dogs, but also a bearded dragon and two gekhos. The dogs included a collie, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and an Akita.

Some of the cats, and the Mastif dog, were dead and decomposing.

Mr Davidson said some of the animals were skeletal and barely alive. Four cats were taken from the premises for veterinary treatment but two had to be put to sleep.

Mr Davidson said all three surviving dogs had been caused unnecessary suffering and had been malnourished for anything from two weeks to many months.

One cat was found sitting in a washing basket. There was no evidence of food, water or bedding. Beneath it was the body of another cat, which it appeared to have partly eaten.

Mr Davidson said the case was one of long term neglect of the most serious type.

Tindall's solicitor, Sara Lyle, admitted the case was horrendous and appalling. Her client was ashamed. She had let the situation get out of control and was unable to do anything about it.

Miss Lyle said the defendant had cared for many animals but had got to a stage of being unable to cope. She was drinking heavily at the time, had tried to take her life and had suffered a breakdown. She had a very poorly mother who died two days after the RSPCA attended her home.

She was now getting help for her alcoholism, had cleaned up the house and was caring for two cats and five kittens, given to her by a neighbour, which were healthy.

But the magistrates issued a seizure order for the cats and kittens to be cared for by the RSPCA. The Bench ordered that Tindall could not apply for the disqualification of the keeping of animals to be lifted for five years.

Mrs Eakin said the case was harrowing on both sides.