Judge orders LA Zoo to improve elephant exhibit after allegations of abuse

Gene J. Puskar/AP

A lawsuit claims the elephants at the Los Angeles Zoo are overweight, sexually frustrated and poorly groomed, but city officials say they're cared for properly.

A judge has harshly criticized the Los Angeles Zoo for its treatment of elephants in its $42 million pachyderm exhibit.

Zookeepers were ordered Monday to exercise the elephants, till their soil and stop using bull hooks or electric prods.

The zoo says it doesn't use cattle prods or other electrical instruments.

The Los Angeles Daily News says the judge's 56-page decision states "all is not well at the Los Angeles Zoo." He says the elephants are not healthy, happy and thriving.

The ruling comes after a June trial in a lawsuit filed by late actor Robert Culp and real estate agent Aaron Leider.

The suit had asked the court to shut down the exhibit on grounds it is too small and the zoo was guilty of animal abuse.

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