Serial animal abuser Derbe Eckhart of Heidelberg Township pleads guilty to animal cruelty charges

Rescued animals remain in protective custody pending sentencing

Eckhart pleads guilty to 94 counts of animal cruelty

Philadelphia, PA (January 29, 2019) – The Pennsylvania SPCA announces that Derbe “Skip” Eckhart of Heidelberg Township, has pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges stemming from four separate search warrants served in May 2017 as well as January and June of 2018.

In total, 108 animals were rescued from his property during these warrants. Thirty of these animals remain in the protective custody of the Pennsylvania SPCA.

Eckhart, who has been in jail since August, had been charged with three felonies, as well as numerous third-degree misdemeanors and summary counts of cruelty to animals, neglect of animals and operating a kennel without a license.

In pleading guilty, Eckhart will face a sentence of up to 21 years in state prison as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and restitution.

In 2018 alone, the Pennsylvania SPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement team visited Eckhart’s property in Heidelberg Township, as well as a property across the street, on three separate occasions in January and June. On June 5, 38 animals were removed from Eckhart’s property including five dogs, seven Doberman puppies and one dead puppy.

“The Pennsylvania SPCA has been working for decades to end the neglect and cruelty caused to animals at the hands of Derbe Eckhart,” said Nicole Wilson, Director of Humane Law Enforcement. “While we have high hopes for this case coming to an end in February, right now we are focused on the more than thirty animals attached to this case that are still being held by the Pennsylvania SPCA, some for more than a year. In the past, Mr. Eckhart has entered into agreements and then rescinded. As a result, we will hold off on the celebration until all of the animals are free to  find the homes they deserve.”

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