Jackson animals found to be fit – SBNP

[b]Jackson animals found to be fit[/b] SCOTT STEEPLETON, NEWS-PRESS SENIOR WRITER January 18, 2006 12:00 AM The animals at Michael Jackson’s Neverland Valley Ranch zoo are not being mistreated, according to a federal agency that inspected the menagerie after a complaint by an animal rights group. On Tuesday, Darby Holladay, a spokesman with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, told the News-Press that claims of cruelty by the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals were unfounded. “Whoever files a complaint, we usually send someone out to check out the situation as quickly as possible,” said Mr. Holladay. “PETA filed their complaint on Dec. 19. On the morning of the 21st, one of the animal care veterinarians went on-site and determined that the animals were in good health.” The zoo at Mr. Jackson’s 2,600-acre ranch off Figueroa Mountain Road in Los Olivos has been home to elephants, giraffes, snakes, orangutans, tigers and a crocodile. Recent reports in European media and in tabloids allege the animals are being kept in substandard conditions. But Mr. Holladay, speaking by phone from Washington, D.C., said the federal animal care specialist who saw the animals last month reported “they did not have any problems.”