Jacko cleared of mistreating animals
Pop icon Michael Jackson, who last year beat child sex charges, has been cleared of mistreating the menagerie of wild animals at his fantasy-theme Neverland Ranch.Updated: Jan 20, 2006 12:16 IST
Pop icon Michael Jackson, who last year beat child sex charges, has been cleared of mistreating the menagerie of wild animals at his fantasy-theme Neverland Ranch.
US Department of Agriculture officials inspected the "King of Pop's" California domain last month following a complaint by an animal welfare group based on news reports of animal neglect, but found no signs that the beasts, which include elephants and giraffes, were suffering.
"On December 19th last year, a complaint was filed against Neverland Ranch by PETA (People Against Ethical Treatment of Animals) based upon a news report," USDA spokesman Darby Holladay said.
"We take all complaints seriously and on December 21 a USDA veterinary officer went on site for an inspection but found that nothing was amiss and that the animals were in good shape," he added.
Jackson, 47, who was cleared of all child sexual molestation charges in June 2005 following a gruelling months-long trial, now lives in the Gulf state of Bahrain and has indicated he will not return to California permanently.
In late 2005 news reports claimed that a cash shortage resulted in possible neglect of the exotic animals at Neverland, a private zoo that has included orangutans, lions and alligators or crocodiles.
But PETA, a prominent US animal rights lobby group, said that while it was relieved no animal cruelty was detected, it was still concerned about the welfare of the animals on the sprawling Neverland ranch, which also has a theme park and a mini-railway.
First Published: Jan 20, 2006 12:16 IST