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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 January 2006, 12:27 GMT
Jackson sued for unpaid vet bills
Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson has been absent from Neverland since June
Singer Michael Jackson is being sued by a veterinarian in California for alleged unpaid bills.

Martin Dinnes, owner of Dinnes Memorial Veterinary Hospital, claims Mr Jackson owes him $91,602 (51,729).

Mr Dinnes helped Mr Jackson acquire animals for his Neverland Ranch, which he has not occupied since being cleared of child molestation charges last June.

The singer's lawyer, Thomas Mesereau, said he was unable to comment as he had yet to see the complaint.

The animals at Mr Jackson's ranch include giraffes, elephants, orangutans and flamingoes.

Mr Dinnes' lawyer said his client has continued to look after the animals since Mr Jackson moved to Bahrain.

Brenton Horner said his client "filed the lawsuit with great reluctance".

"He has a lot of admiration for Michael. This is just a business matter," he added.

A court hearing has been set for 2 May in Santa Maria, California, where Mr Jackson's trial took place last year.

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