03/16/11 — Man pleads in April 2010 charges of dogfighting

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Man pleads in April 2010 charges of dogfighting

By From Staff And Wire Reports
Published in News on March 16, 2011 1:46 PM

A Duplin County man has pleaded guilty to federal dog-fighting charges after an undercover sheriff's investigator purchased a pit bull from him last year.

Harry Louis Hargrove of 306 Buck Hill Road pleaded guilty Monday to selling, delivering, possessing, training and transporting dogs for the purposes of animal fighting. The 76-year-old Hargrove will be sentenced later.

Hargrove was booked 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.

The alleged dog-fighting operation was based at Hargrove's mobile home residence just off the Tram Road, about 12 miles southeast of Mount Olive in northern Duplin County.

At the time of his arrest, U.S. Humane Society officials called it "one of the worst" they had seen.

Officers found 35 dogs on Hargrove's property, all but one of the dogs had to be euthanized because of injuries or aggressive behavior.

Officers said Hargrove was part of a nationwide dog-fighting operation.

Investigators also found a blood-stained fighting pit, devices used to train dogs and dog carcasses.

Duplin County Sheriff Blake Wallace said at the time of the arrest 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 subsequent 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.