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Heidelberg Township man faces 58 counts of animal cruelty

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PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — A man faces 58 counts of animal cruelty after the Pennsylvania SPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement Team executed a search warrant in May at his Heidelberg Township property.

District Attorney James B. Martin approved the organization’s charges today.

According to the Pennsylvania SPCA’s release, 48 animals, including four horses and a number of cats and dogs, were seized. Many of the animals were in immediate need of veterinary care while some were found to be living in unsanitary conditions, the release states.

Two of the animals were euthanized while the others were transported to the Pennsylvania SPCA’s Erie Avenue headquarters for medical care.

Derbe Echkart faces six misdemeanor and 36 summary charges for lack of veterinary care and 16 summary charges for unsanitary conditions. The release adds that the misdemeanor charges are a result of numerous factors, including Echkart’s prior animal cruelty convictions.

“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.”