Breeder pleads guilty to animal cruelty

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - September 22, 2009 Forty-one-year-old Derbe Eckhart pleaded guilty Tuesday in Lehigh County Court to two misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and five violations of the state's dog law.

Eckhart faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a maximum fine of $7,500 when he is sentenced Nov. 16.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Jay Jenkins says Eckhart treated the dogs with "wanton neglect."

Animal welfare officials raided Eckhart's Almost Heaven kennel in Emmaus last October.

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