Raided again, Agents descend on Almost Heaven for a second day

Humane officers last night seized dozens of additional animals - including monkeys, birds, cats and horses - from the Lehigh County kennel where 216 dogs were removed 24 hours earlier.

Agents from the Pennsylvania SPCA and Lehigh County Humane Society executed a search warrant at Almost Heaven kennel, the problem-plagued facility ordered shut down by state yesterday, where they found more sick and injured animals. 

A PSPCA veterinarian was on the scene evaluating animals late tonight, so the count of animals removed is preliminary, but it is believed about 20 cats,  five dogs, two horses, "a roomful of birds" and as many as five spider monkeys were taken to shelters.

Kennel owner Derbe Eckhart - who officials say has been charged with additional violations based on yesterday's raid - is scheduled for trial in July on animal cruelty charges relating to an October raid where agents removed 60 sick dogs.

As a result of that raid and ongoing violations, the Department of Agriculture revoked Eckhart's kennel license. Commonwealth Court denied Eckhart's emergency appeal on Monday and officials with the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement said they moved quickly to shut the kennel and remove all but 25 dogs, fearing they might be shot if Eckhart was given notice to downsize his kennel.

Under Pennsylvania law, no license is needed for fewer than 26 dogs.

Eckhart's website lists four breeds of cats (Snowshoe, Siamese, Ragdoll and Persians) for sale as well as cockatiels and lovebirds.

The warrant resulted from information provided by the Humane Society of the United States staff and state dog wardens during their search of the property on Tuesday.

The 216 dogs were taken to an emergency shelter in Harrisburg for evaluation. Some of the dogs have already been distributed to shelters throughout the region for adoption. Pennsylvania shelters receiving dogs are the Humane Society of Harrisburg, the Humane Society of Berks County and Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter. Animal Allies of New Jersey also received dogs.

Continue Reading