Local News

Mount Olive man arrested in Duplin dog-fighting raid

Posted April 13, 2010 9:52 a.m. EDT
Updated April 13, 2010 6:54 p.m. EDT

— The Duplin County Sheriff's Department conducted a raid Tuesday morning on a suspected dog-fighting facility believed to be one of the top five operations in the country.

Thirty-three pit bulls, as well as equipment used to train dogs for fighting and a ring, were found during the raid at the home along Buck Hill Road in Mount Olive, according to Anna Ware, with Atlanta-based security firm Norred & Associates who assisted in the raid.

Authorities arrested 76-year-old Harry Hargrove.

"This gentleman has been known as one of the top five dog-fighting operations in the United States," Ware said.

Investigators said Hargrove has a long history and many connections in dog fighting.

"We have evidence to support that its probably been a 40-year operation," said Miguel Abi-Hassan, of the Atlanta Humane Society, which deployed an animal rescue team and a trailer to help evaluate and treat the dogs before transporting them to an undisclosed location.

The dogs found at the Buck Hill home were trained to fight and some are worth as much as $10,000 in the underground ring, investigators said.

Two veterinarians checked and treated each animal seized. Most of the dogs had scaring consistent with dog fighting, Abi-Hassan said.

"Definitely around the neck and the face, we have some dogs that look like they've almost lost an eye, some with skin peeled back, (It's) pretty horrific," he said.

Confidential leads from a tip line sponsored by Norred led to the raid. The firm also assisted Duplin County deputies in investigating the tips.

As part of its pro-bono campaign to stop dog fighting, Norred has participated in 21 raids across the country, resulting in 26 arrests and more than 400 dogs rescued.