Mayfield Tiger owner told to remove animals

MAYFIELD – A man who keeps tigers and leopards at his Route 30 property has been ordered to remove the animals by June 1.

Steve Salton received the cease-and-desist order May 2, said Mike Stewart, town code enforcement officer. The order says he has 30 days to comply with it.

Salton on Monday said he doesn’t know what he will do about the order.

“I can’t speculate on that, I don’t know,” Salton said, adding he would “trust in the Lord.”

The order also says Salton must stop operating what the order refers to as Salton’s “home occupation” at his property.

Salton operates Natasha’s Helping Hand, which he contends is not a business. He said he exhibits his animals by appointment.

If Salton does not take action by June 1, “the town of Mayfield will commence appropriate legal proceedings against you for the enforcement hereof,” the order stated.

Stewart referred questions about potential legal proceedings to the town’s attorney, Carmel Greco, who could not be reached for comment this morning.

Salton is appealing a recent court ruling that affirmed the town Zoning Board of Appeals’ decision Salton is running a home occupation on his property and needs town Planning Board approval.

Salton’s notice of appeal, filed in state Supreme Court in Johnstown on Jan. 10 by Salton’s attorney, Christian J. Soller, says state Supreme Court Justice Richard T. Aulisi “erred” by failing to overturn the Zoning Board of Appeals’ determination.

Aulisi ruled on Salton’s Article 78 petition Dec. 7, saying the Zoning Board’s decision was “supported by a rational basis and by substantial evidence,” which included Salton’s exhibitor license.

Salton had three tigers and two leopards at his property on Route 30 when Stewart informed him he needed Planning Board approval to operate a home occupation in a residential zone. The zoning board in October 2011 affirmed Stewart’s determination the animal display constituted a business, but Salton filed the Article 78 petition to challenge that decision instead of applying to the Planning Board.

Salton and his wife, Cynthia, in 2008 filed for a business certificate, doing business as Natasha’s Helping Hand. They filed a dissolution of business notice on June 14, 2011, stating the operation was “residential, not commercial.”