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4/15 UPDATE: We were able to talk with Duplin County Sheriff Blake Wallace this morning and he gave us an update on this story.

Wallace says his department got the original tip that Harry L. Hargrove was running a dog-fighting ring on his property. He says the department had never investigated something of this magnitude, so he called the Wilson County Sheriff’s Department for advice – and they led him to the Atlanta Humane Society and to Norred and Associates, which is a private investigating firm in the Atlanta area.

He also says Hargrove had only lived in Duplin County the last year or so – and was shipping many of his dogs to other owners. He said he can’t confirm what AHS reports – that Hargrove was running one of the Top 5 dog-fighting rings in the country.

He says he also doesn’t know where the rescued dogs are, but that they’re still in the care of the AHS.


4/14 UPDATE: We wanted to follow-up on this story today, but have run up against some interesting roadblocks.

First, we checked in with the Atlanta Humane Society and the private investigators who helped initiate the raid to see where the dogs were and how they’re doing. We were told that we could not see the dogs today, that they were at a secret location, and we were given very basic details as to their health. We were also told they were at that secret location so that others who fight dogs wouldn’t steal them. We informed the Humane Society and the private investiagtors that video shot of the dogs inside a shelter would not tip anyone off to where they are – and that we would not disclose the location. They still refused to let us see the dogs.

We’ll continue to follow this story – and let you know if we find out anything else.


4/13 UPDATE: Nadine reports Sheriff’s Deputies have arrested 76-year-old Harry Louis Hargrove. Representatives from the Atlanta Humane Society tell her Hargrove’s been fighting dogs for 45 years and is one of the top five dog fighters in the country. So far, they have found more than 33 pit bull and pit bull mixes alive on the farm. They’ve also found some dead. No word on how many. They also found medication, weights and treadmills. All in all, investigators say raiding an operation like this costs the Atlanta Humane Society $100,000 dollars.


The Duplin County Sheriff’s Department is conducting a raid this morning on an alleged dog-fighting facility. The raid is expected to rescue 35-50 abused dogs and result in an arrest. Private investigators with Norred & Associates, an Atlanta-based security firm, are assisting in the rescue operation.

The raid is the result of confidential leads from a tip line sponsored by Norred & Associates. After verifying the initial lead, Norred investigators contacted the local law enforcement agency and together they conducted a joint investigation. As part of its pro-bono campaign to stop dog fighting, the Norred team has participated in 21 raids, resulting in 26 arrests and over 400 dogs rescued.

The Atlanta Humane Society has deployed their Humane Emergency Animal Rescue Team (HEART) and their fifth-wheel trailer to help evaluate and treat the dogs and transport them to an undisclosed location.


Comment on this Story

  • Huh?

    This criminal was a recent arrival and was caught him with only 33 dogs. That is definitely too many for a sane ‘dog-lover,’ but many other dogfighting busts net hundreds of dogs and dog corpses – this guy was just getting started, and they already caught him.

    The system actually worked in this case, but you seem like you’d only be satisfied by psychic LEOs arresting this criminal before any crime was committed – the kind of system fascists and dictators dream of.

    And as for his purchases and noises, what country do you live in? Are you advocating that the government start monitoring legal purchases and conducting surveillance of private property – effectively presuming that everyone is guilty until proven innocent?

    I am thankful you are not a LEO or politician or a person of any authority.

    The system isn’t perfect, but it works. What you are advocating is much closer to Soviet- or Chinese-style totalitarianism.

  • doggone

    You think that because something has been going on for hundreds of years it should be allowed in modern society?

    By your thinking, we should still have slavery, witch trials, public hangings, duels to the death and be ruled by hereditary kings?

    “Read your history”?! Many of us have – but very few want to relive it.

  • Guest

    They should seek the maximum penalty for ANYONE found even there at a dog fighting place. It is cruel and if they wanna see a fight let them fight each other and leave the dogs out of it. If I ever see people fighting dogs I ll snap.

  • ARE YOU KIDDING ME!! ARE YOU NUTS!! This man has been torturing (that’s what dog fighting is pure torture!!!!) for 42 years & have the nerve to say he will never hold those dogs again!!! Who allows this to go on on their property even if they weren’t his!! Finding DEAD DOGS AROUND THE PROPERTY!! Dog fighting instraments, objects, tredmills, first aid kits, needles, sterroids, a pit, bait dogs (animals) etc… having 33 dogs chainned, caged whatever!! Unless you are a rescue what the hell would you do with 33 dogs NOT INCLUDING ALL THE DEAD ONES FOUND ON THE PROPERTY!!! You have no idea what you are saying!! Pit bulls are not the ememies of america!!!! THEY ARE VICTIMS!!! NOT CRIMINALS!!!!! If anyone needs education it you!! Just in case you need to know the facts, DOG FIGHTING IS ILLEGAL!!!!!! I don’t care if he did it in his youth!! That is 45 years of TORMENT!!!! How many thousands of dogs went thru this torture & you also have the nerve to call Norred & Associates mass murders!!! What the heck do you call it what he did for 45 years!!

  • SurfCityTom

    he gets subjected to the same media attention as was Michael Vick.

    If this guy was one of the top 5 in the country, and had been fighting dogs for over 40 years, one must wonder why it took so long?

    There’s more to this then is being discussed. It runs deeper through the county.


    How many of those 400 dogs rescued by the Norred & Associates team have been euphemized? You people write “rescue” when you should be writing “MASS MURDER”. Is the public going to be informed of this? The Norred & Associates teams are a lot like Nazi’s in my opinion. In fact that’s what they should call themselves, Nazi’s and Associates! And what happen to we’re presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty! The man is 76 years old. He fought dogs when? In his youth!?! It was legal at one time, remember? People should really educate themselves prior to believing what is written and what is heard. Do research. This is the extermination of a breed of dog that for some reason is seen as a class of enemies of the United States. I don’t know if this man is innocent or guilty, but “IF” he is innocent then what? He can’t have his dogs back because they’ve been KILLED and he is expected to PAY for the kennel costs to house the dogs that were TAKEN from his property! Not including the attorney and court costs. This American is screwed. He loses either way. If his body isn’t put in prison his heart will be, because I guarantee he loves every one of them dogs and now he’ll NEVER hold them again.

  • Matt

    Perhaps you should stop blaming WWAY for finding a story that is extremely pertinent, and thank them for getting a sick individual off the street. The fact that you made this about a news station wanting to get a story and somehow included the word, “liberal”, into your post gives you zero credibility. Someone who manipulates and trains an innocent animal or animals to fight and then kills these animals clearly has mental problems and needs serious attention. Not only that, but to be that sick in the mind, studies overwhelmingly show that people who abuse animals more than likely have the same habits demonstrated towards humans; occasionally leading to murder. The fact that you would blame a sick man who tortured and killed dogs on a news station and use a political reference almost makes me wonder if we should not suspect YOU for having something to do with this crime. Hands down, this is not a controversial issue as to if it’s right or wrong to kill dogs… it’s plain wrong. This has nothing to do with WWAY manipulating a story or have anything to do with being liberal. Either you are a close friend of Mr. Soles, or you also like to abuse animals…. you, my friend, are the sick individual in this story.

  • L

    I do appreciate your comments regarding 2nd guessing the Humane Society. I guess I just assumed I could trust them. And thanks to WWAY for following up on the story. I would like to know what happens to these poor dogs. I own two pits who are the sweetest girls I have ever had. It breaks my heart to see them mistreated in this way. Please continue to try to find them and make everyone involved own up to their practices.

  • Guest0512

    The word is euthanized.

    There is no reason for anyone to have that many dogs, nor dead dogs lying around on the property. Dogs that were injured. Dogs that needed to be put down due to aggression.

    Norred and Associates is a good group. They’ve done a lot to prevent the cruelty of dog fighting in GA.

  • SurfCityTom

    raises some very good points.

    At the top of the list. How could the Sheriff, whom I believe is former FBI, or his Department not have been aware of something like this.

    I own a small farm in Duplin County; get away from Wallace, there are no big towns. These’s no concentration of populace.

    How could the Sheriff appear on the news and express such dismay and disbelief?

    With the number of dogs referenced, the gentleman had to be buying dog food in large quantities.

    There had to be other indicators.

    Dogs bark; that many dogs would raise a loud cry.

    When I’m over in Duplin County, I can hear the cows from the pasture down the road. I hear the children up the road. I can even hear I-40 traffic when it is crowded.

    Something smells here; and it’s not dog doo-doo.

    Maybe Raleigh needs to get a couple of SBI investigators down here to get to the bottom of this.

  • Guest1234

    For those of you that think he wasn’t running a dog fighting ring, here’s some food for thought…who in the hell keeps 33 dogs as pets? And why would a “dog lover” let them lie around on the property after they die? Most of these dogs probably will be put to sleep which is very sad but the alternative is for them to be thrown into a “ring” to eat each other alive for “sport” and cold, hard cash. So let’s pick the lesser of two evils, shall we? Be responsible and help control the pet population…spay or neuter!!!!


    Have you ever noticed that all WWAY wants to do is stick a camera or microphone in someones face? Stir some Crap and make it stink more? You are more interested in getting a camera to those dogs regardless of what the investigaters tell you so that you can put pictures of some malnurished dogs on TV and tickle the hearts of some bleeding liberals, than you are allowing the investigation to continue. I bet you won’t show pictures of the healthy ones. You will just try to frame this man as a man that had all malnurished dogs. WWAY, get a LIFE. That’s why I watch WECT 6. You worked hard to push RC Soles out of office and now see how much money we get to this area. It’s all about WWAY selling a story. You make sure that you tell that the Sheriff would talk to you…blah-blah-blah He has a job to do and it’s not cater to your camera and microphone at your convience. Get a LIFE.

  • WilmingtonMAJ

    Dip them in a vat of raw meat, and throw them in the ring with the dogs. Case closed! Anyone that cruel forfeits their right to live in my opinion and their life is worth infinitely less than the animals the abuse!

  • I dont watch you anymore


  • Matt

    There’s no point to have a rationale discussion with you. Reason being, when individuals like yourself start making false accusations about someone that you feel to be deragatory, or when you begin to discuss other issues while ignoring the main one at hand, you show your igorance and close mindedness.

  • Sick of people like Matt

    It’s people like you who are always making ridiculous assumptions about others…(Just like WWAY always wanting to frame someone) who make others just ……sick of your existence. Matt….get a life. What are you, the historian researcher for WWAY? You probably live in Wilmington, hang out with the assistant AD from UNCW, moved here from San Fransico and are hoping to legalize gay marriage at Hugh McRae Park. And by the way, I have a 60 acre farm of animals with dogs, chickens, cattle, soybeans and tobacco and I don’t support fighting animals. You close minded individuals look to seek and destroy rather than seeing the big picture. You’re begging movie markets to come to Wilmington to help the economy, but you run off a senator who has brought tax money back to this area. See if it happens anymore.

  • dog

    i think the law needs to focus there time on drug dealers,rapist,s*** like that instead of someone fighting a dog or chicken
    its been going on for hunderds of years read your history on the sport

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