Page last updated at 10:38 GMT, Sunday, 11 May 2008 11:38 UK

DMX on animal and drugs charges

Police also raided the rapper's home last August

US rapper DMX has been arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty and drug possession following a raid on his home, police have said.

Five pit bull puppies, several weapons and unspecified illegal drugs were also seized by police.

The arrest follows a seven-month inquiry after 12 apparently neglected dogs were found at the Arizona home of the rapper - real name Earl Simmons.

Mr Simmons was taken to a nearby jail and released on $7,500 (3,800) bail.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said Mr Simmons had initially barricaded himself in his bedroom when officers arrived at his home at 0300 local time, but eventually surrendered without offering further resistance.

'No excuse'

"With all his money and fame, [DMX] has no excuse for not providing proper care for his animals," Sheriff Joe Arpaio said.

It is the second run-in the rapper has had with police in a week. On Tuesday he was arrested for driving at speeds as high as 114mph on a freeway.

DMX album
DMX's album Year of the Dog... Again shows him with a pit bull

Mr Simmons's lawyer, Murray Richman, said he believed evidence did not support the charges of animal cruelty, which has been a major focus of Sheriff Arpaio.

"I think that the animal cruelty is not going to be able to be established and I think that this is Sheriff Joe's moment," he said.

Police first raided the star's Cave Creek home in August last year, following reports of dogs being abused on his property.

Detectives seized 12 pit bull dogs and found the remains of three others that had been buried in the back garden.

They also found about half a pound (0.23 kg) of cannabis at the house.

At the time, the rapper said he had not been at the property for at two months and a caretaker who was left in charge failed to care for them.

Dog clothing

The 37-year-old musician has sold over 20 million albums as one of the most popular stars of hip-hop in the US.

The cover of his last album, Year of the Dog... Again, which came out in 2006, featured him with a pit bull straining at the leash.

He also launched his own range of dog clothing, including caps, scarves and raincoats for canines. It was named Boomer 129 after one of his pit bulls.

The arrest comes six years after a US court ordered DMX to make public service announcements after pleading guilty to animal cruelty, disorderly conduct and possession of drug paraphernalia.

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