Lehigh County Kennel Operator Guilty of Violating PA Dog Law

Posted on: June 29th, 2012       Attorney Thomas Newell

A Nov. 15, 2010 opinion of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania confirmed a decision of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to assess $167,900.00 in fines and penalties against a Lehigh County kennel operator.  Derbe Eckhart operated the “Almost Heaven Kennels” in Emaus PA.  The Department’s Bureau of Dog Enforcement had denied his request to renew his license to operate a boarding kennel which had been revoked in 2008.

The defendant was ordered to reduce the number of dogs at his location to 25.  A PA dog warden and a Bureau Supervisor later inspected the property and counted 348 dogs present on March 16, 2009.  Administrative fines and penalties were levied by the PA Department of Agriculture which were upheld by the Appeals Court.  Separately, Mr. Eckhart was found guilty of 2 animal cruelty counts by a Lehigh County jury in March of 2010.  Eckhart v. Department of Agriculture, 8 A.3d 401 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2010).