07/03/11 — Sentencing delayed for Duplin man pleading guilty to dogfighting

View Archive

Sentencing delayed for Duplin man pleading guilty to dogfighting

By Steve Herring
Published in News on July 3, 2011 1:50 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Sentencing has been delayed until Aug. 1 in the case of a 76-year-old Mount Olive man who in March pleaded guilty to selling, delivering, possessing, training and transporting dogs for the purposes of animal fighting.

Harry Louis Hargrove of 306 Buck Hill Road pleaded guilty to federal dog-fighting charges after an undercover sheriff's investigator purchased a pit bull from him last year.

Hargrove was to have been sentenced last Wednesday in U.S. Federal Court.

"They have delayed it until Aug. 1," Duplin County Sheriff Blake Wallace said Tuesday. "I really don't know why. The judge made that decision."

Wallace said he was first told sentencing would be delayed until July 1. He said he was informed by e-mail Monday that the sentencing had now been delayed until Aug. 1.

He said he did not know if the delay had been requested by the defense or if it had been delayed for other reasons.

Hargrove was charged in April 2010 on 59 felonies related to dog fighting -- 34 counts of possession of dogs for the purpose of dog fighting and 25 for cruelty to and neglect of animals.

He was also cited for two charges of possession of stolen firearms.

According to law enforcement officials, the dog-fighting operation based at Hargrove's mobile home residence just off the Tram Road, about 12 miles southeast of Mount Olive in northern Duplin County, was part of a nationwide operation.

All but one of the 35 dogs found on Hargrove's property when it was raided had to be euthanized because of injuries or aggressive behavior.

A blood-stained fighting pit, devices used to train dogs and dog carcasses were found on the property, too.

At the time of the arrest Wallace said that Hargrove has a criminal record and has been charged in the past with dog fighting, gambling and cruelty to animals in Georgia. He said Hargrove is originally from the Mount Olive area, but moved away for some time before moving back in recent years.

The raid and charges were the result of a month-long investigation by the Duplin County Sheriff's Office in cooperation with the Atlanta Humane Society that had received a tip on the dog-fighting operation.

Wilson and Greene counties sheriffs' officers and Greene County and Duplin County Animal Control officials assisted in the raid.