Lehigh Valley

Apparent raid at Lehigh County property of alleged animal hoarder Derbe Eckhart

UPPER MILFORD TWP., Pa. - State police and SPCA personnel, along with several U-haul vehicles, are at the Lehigh County property of Derbe Eckhart, a former kennel owner who served prison time on animal cruelty charges and is now accused of violating his probation.

Police and SPCA personnel arrived at the Chestnut Street, Upper Milford Township property Saturday morning.

A 69 News crew at the scene saw numerous empty animal cages inside the U-haul vehicles. Horse trailers are also parked at the scene. It is unclear at this point if any animals have been removed from the property.

A representative with the SPCA said the organization would not provide any comment at this time due to the investigation being ongoing. Police are also not commenting at this time.

Earlier this week, investigators issued a probation warrant for Eckhart.

The county's probation department responded to Eckhart's property Monday. Officials said they found dozens of animals living in poor conditions, including 22 horses, three monkeys, 138 birds and more cats and kittens than they could count.

Eckhart is the former owner of the Almost Heaven Kennel in Upper Milford Township, which was raided in 2008.

Eckhart spent nine months in jail after a 2010 conviction for animal cruelty. He was then placed on three years' probation with a condition that limits his ownership, possession, control or custody of animals or employment with the care of animals.

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