A Fulton County man is being told once again he can be a big cat lover, but not an owner of big cats at his home.
A state appeals court has given the Mayfield resident 30 days to remove his three tigers and two leopards, upholding previous court and town decrees ordering the same.
In a decision handed down Thursday, the state Supreme Court Appellate Division upheld a ruling determining Steven Salton’s big cats were part of a business. The decision upholds a ruling first handed down in 2011 by a code enforcement officer and then in 2012 by the town Zoning Board of Appeals.
A state Supreme Court justice subsequently affirmed that board ruling before the case went to the appellate division.
Salton has kept exotic animals on his Route 30 property, zoned residential, going back to 2005, when he purchased a baby Siberian tiger from a private breeder.
He is licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The licenses require he exhibit the animals for educational purposes, as opposed to keeping the animals as pets, on his 11-acre property. Salton shows the animals by appointment. The town maintained Salton charged an entry fee, while the owner countered he asked for donations.
Salton’s attorney, Christian J. Soller of Albany, told The Leader-Herald of Gloversville that Salton will seek a variance from the town Planning Board. The Planning Board reviews and, if warranted, approves home businesses. Soller could not be reached for comment.
Neighbors have complained about the potential dangers of the big cats and have said the presence of the animals has affected property values.