Pennsylvania SPCA charges Heidelberg Township man with multiple counts of animal cruelty

Philadelphia, PA (September 11, 2017) - The Pennsylvania SPCA has charged Derbe Echkart of  Heidelberg Township  with 58 counts of animal cruelty,  six of which are misdemeanors, and 52 summary offenses. The misdemeanor charges are a result of numerous factors, including Eckhart’s prior animal cruelty convictions.

On May 5, 2017, the Pennsylvania SPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement Team, accompanied by one of the organization’s forensic veterinarians, executed a search warrant on Eckhart’s property in the 6000 block of Central Road in Heidelberg Township. Upon arrival, it was discovered that many of the animals were in immediate need of veterinary care. Additionally, some of the animals were found to be living in unsanitary conditions.

The PSPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement team seized 48 animals, including four horses as well as numerous cats and dogs. Two of the animals were in such poor condition that they were humanely euthanized. The remaining animals were transported to the PSPCA’s Erie Avenue headquarters where they have been receiving medical care and being housed ever since.

Today, District Attorney James B. Martin approved the PSPCA’s charges of 6 misdemeanor and 36 summary charges for lack of veterinary care, and 16 summary charges for unsanitary conditions.

“The Pennsylvania SPCA is dedicated to ensuring that animals throughout the Commonwealth, including those in Lehigh County, are taken care of and protected,” said Nicole Wilson, Director of Humane Law Enforcement at the PSPCA. “It is concerning that this individual has continually violated the cruelty code, even after facing jail time. We hope that this will serve as a red flag to the courts and that once and for all this individual will be barred from owning animals.”

Anyone with information about this case, or other cases involving animal cruelty, should call the Pennsylvania SPCA’s Cruelty Hotline at (866) 601-SPCA. Tips can be left anonymously.

About the Pennsylvania SPCA

Since 1867, the Pennsylvania SPCA, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization headquartered at 350 East Erie Avenue, Philadelphia, has been dedicated to preventing animal cruelty and rescuing animals from abuse and neglect. The Pennsylvania SPCA's lifesaving programs for animals include a low-cost veterinary clinic, low-cost spay and neuter services, pet adoption facilities, and the Pennsylvania SPCA Humane Law Enforcement Department. For more information about adopting, donating or volunteering, please call (215) 426.6300 or visit