Man, Convicted Of Animal Cruelty, May Be In Trouble Again - New York News

Man, Convicted Of Animal Cruelty, May Be In Trouble Again

Posted: Updated:
Some of the animals found in the man's yard Some of the animals found in the man's yard
UPPER MILFORD, Pa. -

It was a shocking case of animal abuse. And now, a man already convicted of animal cruelty may be in trouble again. The owner of the Almost Heaven Kennel in Upper Milford, Lehigh County, was convicted on abuse charges in 2010 after agents raided his kennel and seized dozens of mistreated animals.

45-year-old Derbe Eckhart spent more than nine months behind bars for his 2010 animal cruelty conviction. Now, it's the probation order that went along with that sentence that may have Eckhart in trouble this time.

"I was like, here we go again."

Bonnie Fuernisen looks out at the fence that separates her backyard from Derbe Eckhart's property, and shakes her head. Eckhart is accused of violating his probation: he's accused of once again hoarding animals.

"He obviously is aware that he cannot take care of these animals, so why would he bring them to his property?" said Fuenisen.

Eckhart was raided in 2008 by the PSPCA on his Almost Heaven Kennel. In 2010, Eckhart was sentenced to prison for animal cruelty after a June raid uncovered more than 200 animals living in filthy conditions. As part of his sentence, Eckhart's right to own animals was severely limited.

But on Monday, Lehigh County probation officers visited his home and counted more than 250 animals on his Chestnut Street property, an alleged violation of his probation.

The list reads like a combination zoo and farm: dogs and donkeys, goats and horses, all kinds of birds and even monkeys!

Probation officers noted they were disturbed by the physical condition of some of the horses. The overall environment was also "unhealthy."

When FOX 29's Bruce Gordon paid Eckhart a visit, a cat was lounging in the sunlight on the open front door when he answered.

"Mr. Eckhart?" asks Bruce. "Could I talk to you? Just for a moment, sir. Just want to ask you a couple of questions about the raid..."

Moments later, Eckhart called State Police to ask FOX 29 to leave his property. Bonnie Fuernisen says that Eckhart's menagerie has been the bane of her existence. She says that the smell alone keeps her from enjoying her backyard.

She, herself, is a dog owner.

"My pets are not my pets, they're my family. They're like my children. I love them as I would my child," said Fuernisen.

"And the idea of having that many animals and apparently not caring for them properly?" asks Gordon. "It's disgusting. It's just sickening. It really is," answered Fuernisen.

Eckhart is currently free on bail while he awaits a hearing on his alleged probation violation. The "almost heaven" kennel may be closed, but authorities will try and prove that "hellish" conditions remain.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • NJ brush fire forces evacuations

    NJ brush fire forces evacuations

    Thursday, April 24 2014 4:16 PM EDT2014-04-24 20:16:10 GMT
    A New Jersey school and several homes were evacuated Thursday afternoon because of a large brush fire that was being fanned by winds.Beachwood Intermediate South School was closed just after 12:30 p.m. Parents were told not to report to the school. The Ocean County Sheriff's Dept. said that all children were going to be safely evacuated to another location.
    A New Jersey school and several homes were evacuated Thursday afternoon because of a large brush fire that was being fanned by winds.Beachwood Intermediate South School was closed just after 12:30 p.m. Parents were told not to report to the school. The Ocean County Sheriff's Dept. said that all children were going to be safely evacuated to another location.
  • Baby gorillas on display at Bronx Zoo

    Baby gorillas on display at Bronx Zoo

    Thursday, April 24 2014 3:53 PM EDT2014-04-24 19:53:44 GMT
    WCS photoWCS photo
    Two endangered gorillas born at the Bronx Zoo in March and April are now making appearances at the zoo's famous Congo Gorilla Forest exhibit, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society. The baby western lowland gorillas are the 14th and 15th gorillas born at the exhibit since it opened in 1999. The Bronx Zoo has had 50 gorilla births since 1972. The gender of the newborns is unknown for now, WCS said.
    Two endangered gorillas born at the Bronx Zoo in March and April are now making appearances at the zoo's famous Congo Gorilla Forest exhibit, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society. The baby western lowland gorillas are the 14th and 15th gorillas born at the exhibit since it opened in 1999. The Bronx Zoo has had 50 gorilla births since 1972. The gender of the newborns is unknown for now, WCS said.
  • Cops swarm home after disgruntled Call of Duty gamer calls in swatting hoax

    Cops swarm home after disgruntled Call of Duty gamer calls in swatting hoax

    Thursday, April 24 2014 12:05 PM EDT2014-04-24 16:05:27 GMT
    Heavily armed police officers descended on a home in Long Beach, Long Island thinking they might find a grisly murder scene. Instead they found a terrified woman who had no clue what they were talking about and her teenaged son playing video games.
    Heavily armed police officers descended on a home in Long Beach, Long Island thinking they might find a grisly murder scene. Instead they found a terrified woman who had no clue what they were talking about and her teenaged son playing video games.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices