A mother and son have been jailed after they imprisoned two dogs in an attic and nailed it shut.
Rottweiler Axel and Staffordshire bull terrier Bully were starved and denied water and exercise for weeks before they died in agony, emaciated and dehydrated, a court heard.
Jamie Taylor, 31, and his mother Julie, 50, were each jailed for 16 weeks and disqualified from keeping animals for life after causing 'horrendous suffering' to the pets.
Caged: Julie Taylor and her son Jamie (right) were jailed for 16 weeks for allowing their two dogs to starve to death at their Bradford home
The pair ignored the dogs' barks for help and jobless Jamie refused to walk them because he was 'embarrassed' that they were too skinny.
RSPCA officers tried to rescue the animals but were denied access and when police finally broke into the house in Bradford, West Yorkshire, they found an 'overpowering stench' of rotten flesh and the maggot infested corpses of the dogs in the attic.
Jailing the Taylors, bench chairman Harry Atkinson told them: 'The dogs experienced horrendous suffering before their death.
Rottweiler Axel and Staffordshire bull terrier Bully were starved and denied water and exercise for weeks (file pictures of the two breeds pictured)
'The dogs were prisoners upstairs in the house and they died from prolonged neglect.
'They had no access to the rest of the house, nor to the outside world.
'Mr Taylor said he would be embarrassed to take his dogs outside because they were too skinny to be seen out walking.'
Both pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to the dogs and failing to keep them in a suitable environment.
Jamie also admitted failing to exercise reasonable care and supervision.
Prosecutor for the RSPCA Nigel Monaghan told Bradford Magistrates' Court that the charity organisation had been contacted by members of the public concerned about the care of the Rottweiler and staffy, but when an inspector called at the house Mrs Taylor denied access and claimed her son, the dogs' owner, was not there.
Convicted: The Bradford house where Julie Taylor and her son Jamie locked up their starving dogs
RSPCA inspectors called several times at the house over the following weeks but Mrs Taylor failed to alert them to Bully and Axel's condition, said Mr Monaghan, who apologised to the bench for the graphic nature of the photographs he passed them showing the condition in which the dead dogs were found.
Police kicked down slats nailed to the attic door preventing the dogs escaping, the court heard.
'It is difficult to think of a worse case of animal cruelty than this,' said Mr Monaghan.
'A board of slats was nailed in place to stop the dogs, which were in the attic, from getting out and going down the stairs.'
When RSPCA officers were granted access the decomposing and maggot-ridden bodies of the dogs were found in an attic full of faeces, with plastic sheets instead of bedding, and empty food and water bowls.
A vet concluded they had died from starvation and hydration and had been 'ravenously' hungry and thirsty.
An American bulldog called Buster was living downstairs in the house, which was well fed and exercised - he is now in the care of the RSPCA.
The Taylors claimed Axel and Bully weren't allowed downstairs because Buster fought with them.
Both Taylors, who were each on income support and incapacity benefit, would not take the imprisoned dogs for walks and 'ignored their barks', said Mr Monaghan.
'They thought nothing of the dogs starving to death upstairs.
'Jamie said he couldn't take them out because they were too skinny and he didn't want to be seen taking them out.'
The RSPCA asked for costs of £1,333 to be paid, but because neither Taylor was working the magistrates awarded no costs or fines.
Both Taylors wept as their solicitor Ian Hudson explained Jamie had asked to keep the dogs at his mum's home because his girlfriend didn't like the animals.
But he failed to uphold his promise to feed, water and walk the pets, who he had owned for five years, and she did not enter the nailed-shut attic.
Speaking after the hearing RSPCA inspector Dave Holgate said: 'Walking up the stairs to the attic room, where these dogs had starved to death, the smell was atrocious. I don't know how anyone was able to live at the property. It was indescribable.
'Jamie Taylor and Julie Taylor both knew the dogs were in there. They most likely heard them barking but decided, for whatever reason, not to feed them. When the dogs finally died, they could certainly smell them but left them to rot.'