A Duplin County man, who authorities say ran one of the worst dog fighting operations that they have seen in recent years, has pleaded guilty in federal court.
Last April 35 pit bulls were confiscated and several other dogs were found dead at the man's Duplin County home outside of Mount Olive.
During a raid of the property, officers says they found tools of the dog fighting trade that included a treadmill used to condition fighting dogs, a spring pole which was used to strengthen the a dog's jaws, extensive amounts of veterinary supplies, and a blood-stained fighting pit.
The feds say 34 confiscated dogs had to be euthanized because of injuries or aggressive behavior. Officers also found a battery and jumper cables that had been modified to allow for the electrocution of dogs.
Hargrove faces up to five years in federal prison. Sentencing will be in June.
Update June 20, 2011 - The following article is by Brian Shrader, WRAL:
Mount Olive man to be sentenced in Duplin County dog-fighting case
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.
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.
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.
Update August 4, 2011 - The following article is by Martha Waggoner, from ENC Today:
Dog-fighting 'legend' sentenced to 5 years in prison
A 78-year-old North Carolina man described as a legend in the dog-fighting world will spend five years behind bars, the maximum a federal judge could impose.
Harry Hargrove of Duplin County was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Raleigh on dog-fighting charges. Hargrove pleaded guilty to the charges earlier this year, and prosecutors sought a sentence longer than recommended federal guidelines of 10 months to 16 months.
A federal motion says Hargrove has been involved in dog-fighting in the South for about 40 years.
Hargrove told Judge Terrence Boyle he once has more than 100 fighting dogs, but he'd cut back to 35 by the time he was arrested. All 35 dogs found on his property in April 2010 were euthanized.