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Time to remove the exotic animals

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - Updated: 8:54 AM

After years of doing battle with the town of Mayfield in New York state courts, and losing every step of the way, it's time for the town to enforce its cease and desist order against exotic animal business owner Steve Salton.

Salton has kept at least three full-grown tigers and two leopards in a backyard enclosure in an R-1 residential district for several years and charged money to exhibit them.

In June 2011, Mayfield code enforcement officer Michael Stewart notified Salton that his exotic cat exhibit, Natasha's Helping Hand, is a business and violated the town code by operating an "unauthorized home occupation" in a residentially zoned area without a permit. Salton filed a lawsuit that year, arguing his operation is not a business.

Since then, Salton has lost every legal maneuver he has brought forth and now is seeking a stay on the cease and desist order so he can appeal again.

We believe it is in the public's best interests for the court to disallow a stay on the order. It's a waste of time and money and the fact is that Salton has had years to prepare for the inevitable removal of these potentially dangerous animals.

He instead chooses to ignore the zoning laws and the effects his menagerie has had on his neighbors -- people who live in a zoned area with specific rules who were given no choice in his decision to define the neighborhood how he sees fit.

Everything is in place to end this chain of events and in two weeks we hope common sense will prevail.

     

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