Local News

Mount Olive man to be sentenced in Duplin County dog-fighting case

Posted June 20, 2011 12:24 p.m. EDT
Updated June 20, 2011 6:21 p.m. EDT

— A Mount Olive man who admitted to running one of the largest dog-fighting operations in the United States will be sentenced Wednesday.

Harry Hargrove pleaded guilty in March to federal dog-fighting charges. He faces up to five years in prison.

Federal prosecutors recently released new photos of the dogs and the operation, many of which are too graphic to show on WRAL.com.

The Duplin County Sheriff's Department conducted a raid in April 2010 and found 35 pit bulls, as well as equipment used to train dogs for fighting and a ring, at the home along Buck Hill Road in Mount Olive.

All but one dog had to be euthanized because of their injuries or aggressive behavior.

Investigators said Hargrove had a long history, possibly as long as 40 years, and many connections in dog fighting. The dogs found at the home were trained to fight, and some were 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 scarring consistent with dog fighting.

One photograph showed the blood-stained face of a dog, Hugo, which an undercover investigator bought from Hargrove in April 2010. Other photos showed dogs with open wounds and diseases.

The most graphic photos showed dog carcasses, skeletons, mud and trash in a debris pit. Other pictures showed blood on walls, a treadmill used to condition the dogs and a spring pole to strengthen the dogs' jaws.