SANTA MARIA, Calif. – Michael Jackson is being sued for unpaid bills by the veterinarian who tends to the pop star's exotic animals at his Neverland ranch, which the singer has not occupied since being acquitted of child molestation charges last June.
Jackson has been living in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain, but the lawsuit was filed in Santa Maria, Calif., where he stood trial last year.
Martin Dinnes, owner of Dinnes Memorial Veterinary Hospital, alleges that Jackson owes $91,602 in veterinary bills. Dinnes helped the singer acquire animals for his zoo including flamingoes, giraffes, elephants and orangutans, said his lawyer, Brenton Horner.
Dinnes continues to treat the animals regularly, Horner said.
"He filed this (lawsuit) with great reluctance," Horner said. "He has a lot of admiration for Michael. This is just a business matter."
A hearing was set for May 2.
Jackson lawyer Thomas Mesereau Jr. said he had not seen the complaint and could not comment.