Almost Heaven kennel: 'The foulest thing I've ever seen'

Testimony enters its third day in an Allentown courtroom in the animal cruelty trial of Derbe Eckhart, owner of the former Almost Heaven kennel.

On Tuesday dog warden Kristen Donmoyer described the stench at the time the state and Pennsylvania SPCA raided the kennel in October 2008 as "overwhelming."

She said she saw white puppies that were all brown from lying in their own excrement. ''It's the foulest thing I've seen at a kennel to date,'' Donmoyer said, according to news reports.

PSPCA chief investigator George Bengal described conditions as overcrowded and filled with urine and feces.

Eckhart's lawyer, Jeff Conrad, said the cages were dirty because staff was unable to clean during the raid. But Donmoyer said the amount of filth had built up over time.

The kennel - which has been the subject of investigations and charges by various state agencies for decades - was shut down in June 2009 and more than 200 dogs seized. Eckhart's kennel license also was revoked by the state.

More from the Morning Call of Allentown here.

Columnist Bill White, who has been chronicling the Eckhart saga with his sharp-pointed pen since 2002, offers his take on the trial here.