Former kennel owner withdraws guilty plea

November 16, 2009 9:58:38 AM PST
The former owner of a Lehigh Valley dog kennel charged with animal cruelty withdrew his guilty plea Monday morning, just as he was scheduled to be sentenced.

Derbe Eckhart pleaded guilty to two counts of cruelty to animals and other charges in September.

The Pennsylvania SPCA raided his "Almost Heaven" kennel in Upper Milford, Lehigh County in October of last year, then again this past June.

Authorities say they found 189 dogs living in deplorable conditions.

The state has shut down the kennel.