The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has sent a request to Page, Ariz., Police Chief Charlie Dennis to immediately confiscate two surviving giraffes that previously belonged to the late Michael Jackson.
The request comes following the news that the other two giraffes acquired from Jackson’s estate died in the past seven weeks.
“PETA recently learned that two of the giraffes have died and that the possible cause of death of at least one of the animals was improper feeding and/or exposure to cold temperatures,” a rep from the organization told Pop Tarts. “If this is true, the Hancocks appear to be in violation of state cruelty-to-animals law, and the remaining two giraffes must be removed as soon as possible.”
The giraffes have been on city property since 2007 after they were acquired from Neverland Estate by Tom and Freddie Hancock of the Voices of the Wild Foundation, Inc., which operates Banjoko Wildlife Preserve in Page, Ariz. where the animals are kept.
In a letter to Dennis, PETA urges the police chief to “thoroughly investigate this situation and if applicable, pursue charges against the Hancocks for the deaths of two giraffes and, most importantly, take immediate action to protect the remaining giraffes by confiscating the animals and relocating them to a facility that can provide them with appropriate care.”
Freddie Hancock confirmed the death of the two giraffes but said allegations of possible neglect against them have absolutely no standing.
“Those animals are well taken care of. They are not neglected. They are not abused. They are in appropriate facilities. The facilities have been inspected by USDA and the Health Department. There is absolutely no basis for any of these allegations,” she said. “The animals are in a safe environment. They have somebody with them 24/7. They are being taken care of properly. These animals were part of our family.”
Hancock also said that PETA’s urge for an investigation was unnecessary as they had already called the police themselves to look into the unexpected deaths of the two giraffes.
At this point, cause of death is unknown.
“We're still investigating to see if there is a crime or that the giraffes are in danger. Right now we're still working on getting in touch with the state vet of Arizona and discussing with them the situation,” Police Chief Charlie Dennis told Pop Tarts. “PETA was talking about some possible animal cruelty issues or poor living conditions and that's what we're looking at. We have been on the scene there during our initial investigation when we were notified that one of the giraffes had died. We're gathering our evidence as of right now. There is no action that has been taken to remove the giraffes but we are looking and talking to the resources that we have to make sure we can make the right decision on that."
Even if there is no evidence to suggest foul play or animal neglect, it looks lie MJ’s former pets will be moved again.
After acquiring the animals in 2007, the Hancocks entered into a lease agreement to house the animals on city property but are now facing eviction, a ruling Arizona Superior Court has upheld. Freddie Hancock said that the lease required that the group provide $100,000 bond or irrevocable letter of credit. The group provided $100,000 irrevocable letter of credit but the city summarily rejected it. The group attempted to get $100,000 bond but the city would not provide the bond form required by the sureties, she said
“We’re done fighting over this and spending money that should be going to the animals. We don’t want to be here,” Hancock said, adding that they are currently looking into “several different alternatives” to house the giraffes where the giraffes will be welcome and safe from harm.”