A federal appeals court upholds the five-year prison sentence of a Duplin County man convicted on a long history of dog fighting.

A panel of judges in Richmond, Va. ruled Wednesday that Harry Hargrove will stay in prison.

In August 2011, a judge sentenced Hargrove to five years behind bars -- the maximum penalty allowed by law -- for operating a dogfighting operation at his Duplin County home.

Investigators seized three dozen pit bulls from Hargrove's property in April 2010. All but one had to be put down because of their injuries.

Investigators say Hargrove had been involved in dogfighting for 40 years. He also served time on dogfighting convictions in Georgia.