Steve Salton's Tigers, Leopards at His Home Are Dragging Down Home Values, Neighbors Say

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
Steve Salton home, Mayfield, N.Y.

The house next door can bring down your own home's value in all kinds of ways. If it's foreclosed-on and sitting vacant, falling into disrepair and attracting blight, that'll definitely do it. But that's not the issue homeowners on a quiet cul-de-sac in Mayfield, N.Y., are citing as a reason that their homes' values may be plummeting. They're pointing the finger at their neighbor, Steve Salton -- who has tigers and leopards as pets at his home.

Steve Salton
Salton (pictured at left) keeps three tigers and two leopards in his backyard, where he has created an "escape-proof" sanctuary for the animals with high fences, the Times Union newspaper in Albany reported. Neighbors say that tigers and leopards have no place in a residential neighborhood, and the animals are scaring off prospective homebuyers, making nearby properties suffer value depreciation. One 3,500-square-foot home on the block had been listed for more than $400,000, but it has remained vacant with no buyers for years, the Times Union said. It suggests that the animals could be affecting the sale of the home.

Salton said that he keeps the large cats because he's passionate about caring for endangered species. "This is a 24-7 job," Salton, who has lived at his home since 1994, told the Times Union. He began taking in the cats in 2007. "I made a commitment, and I won't back away from it." The cats often roam freely within an animal enclosure in Salton's backyard, but there are large cages they can be kept in from time to time. "These animals shouldn't be caged," he added.

11 PHOTOS
Nightmares Lurking Inside Homes
See Gallery
Steve Salton's Tigers, Leopards at His Home Are Dragging Down Home Values, Neighbors Say

A couple in Salem, Idaho, decided to walk away from their home when they discovered that thousands of snakes were slithering in the walls and the siding of the house. Amber and Ben Sessions said they could hear the scales of the snakes against the house and saw track marks all over the place where the snakes would slither.

An estimated 10,000 bats reportedly took up residence in a foreclosed home in Tifton, Ga., driving neighbors up the walls with the stench. Bats' natural habitats have been eroded by urban development, which could be one explanation for why the home became a bat cave.

A man in Omaha, Neb., was living in fear in his own home -- because it was infested with venomous brown recluse spiders. After finding 40 of the dangerous arachnids in his apartment, Dylan Baumann said that he would shake his towels before drying off after a shower, shake his clothes before putting them on and check his shoes before wearing them. Baumann said he plans to move out in September.

A Miami teenager came home to find her father dead in his house, which was swarmed by 60,000 bees. The house was reportedly under renovation, and it was said that the man may have been trying to get rid of the bees when he died.

Photo: Flickr/fra-NCIS

When Susan Minutillo of Hudson, Fla., ran out to run an errand, she didn't expect to come back and find that her home had dropped into the ground -- after a giant sinkhole under her house suddenly swallowed half of it. Minutillo ran to her neighbors' house, but their home was soon evacuated, too, due to the danger posed by the sinkhole.

After vandals trashed a foreclosed home in Huntington Beach, Calif., an army of mold took over the house, causing $250,000 in damage. Appliances had been removed and water from the Jacuzzi bathtub had been left running. When the water was left to sit, mold grew on the walls, furniture and under tiles.

Brian Dyer intended to dig a hole for a pool in the backyard of his Lakeland, Fla., home. But that hole and two others that contractors attempted to dig were already filled -- with mounds and mounds of trash. Tires, washing machine tubs, debris, metal parts -- even a lawnmower -- were found buried 3 feet under the soil in his backyard.

A pack of coyotes moved into a burned-out and abandoned home in Glendale, Calif. The owners were set to demolish the home and gave the city permission to trap the animals. But the home's neighbors were frightened to even walk outside.


Photo: Flickr/justinjohnsen

A Palmetto, Fla., homeowner walked into her bathroom to find a 7-foot-long alligator on the floor. Apparently, the gator crawled into the woman's home through the cat door. The alligator was removed without incident -- but the woman removed her cat door.

A man in Dayton, Ohio, said that he was battling 50 to 60 roaches a night inside his home and that they were coming from the foreclosure next door, where the walls were "alive" with them. 

Photo: Flickr/steve_lodefink

of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

However, neighbor Richard Travis, who moved to Salton's neighborhood in 2006 -- a year before Salton began housing his animals -- said that his friends won't come within throwing distance of his home because they're afraid of the animals in Salton's nearby yard. He now worries that the animals are dragging down the value of his home. "I bought what I think is a beautiful house, and I'm on a street where there should be other homes of this character," Travis told the Times Union. "But there can't be because of what is there. ... Would you live here?"

Salton has permits from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to house the tigers and leopards on his property. The departments inspect his property several times a year to ensure compliance of the permits. Part of the deal is to make the animals available for public viewing.

But the town of Mayfield is attempting to have the animals evicted from the neighborhood after receiving complaints from neighbors, including Travis, the Times Union reported. Mayfield doesn't have laws on the books specifically banning exotic animals from residential areas, but town officials have decided Salton needs a local permit to keep the animals at his home -- and they won't grant him one. The developer of Salton's subdivision has filed a lawsuit against him, claiming his animals are preventing home sales in the area.

CLARIFICATION: Steve Salton began acquiring his cats in 2007, a year after neighbor Richard Travis bought his home.

See also:
Dozens of Exotic Animals Found in Abandoned Home
Sinkholes and Roaches and Snakes, Oh My!
Don't Let Dead Animals Kill Your Home Sale

32 PHOTOS
Home Inspection Nightmares
See Gallery
Steve Salton's Tigers, Leopards at His Home Are Dragging Down Home Values, Neighbors Say

It's a scary housing market out there -- and not just because of home values. In this slideshow from This Old House, home inspectors from across the country sent some of the funniest, most eye-popping sights they've ever had the misfortune of stumbling upon. Click through to share their grief!


Photos courtesy of the ASHI Reporter

Whoops! Who moved the house?


Bill Camosci
National Property Inspections of Central CT, Inc.
Cromwell, Conn.


More Home Inspection Nightmares


World's Wildest Houses


Skills You Need to Survive Ownership

Taking showers in front of an electrical panel box is not recommended.


Thomas Sanson
National Property Inspections
Rochester, N.Y.


More Home Inspection Nightmares


World's Wildest Houses


Skills You Need to Survive Ownership

If this isn't a set up for a Jeff Foxworthy joke, I don't know what is. Click the next image to see just how much faith this homeowner has in his plumbing skills.


Chris W. McDougall
Apex Home Inspection
Santa Cruz, Calif.


More Home Inspection Nightmares


World's Wildest Houses


Skills You Need to Survive Ownership

Shows how much faith this homeowner had in his plumbing skills. Rather than test the leaky faucet, he opted to wash the dishes in the bathtub.


Chris W. McDougall
Apex Home Inspection
Santa Cruz, Calif.


More Home Inspection Nightmares


World's Wildest Houses


Skills You Need to Survive Ownership

This basement toilet seat is 48 inches above the floor. Hand rails are recommended.


Steve Anderson
Anderson AmeriSpec
Germantown, Tenn.


More Home Inspection Nightmares


World's Wildest Houses


Skills You Need to Survive Ownership

If you tilt your head, it looks just fine. Unless, of course, you're into the Tim Burton look.


Rich Madore
Pillar To Post Home Inspections
Newington, Conn.


More Home Inspection Nightmares


World's Wildest Houses


Skills You Need to Survive Ownership

Ever heard of water hammer? It's that banging sound caused by air in the pipes. Well, this family used an actual hammer to cancel out the noise.


Eric Mills
E&E Inspect
Oreland, Pa.


More Home Inspection Nightmares


World's Wildest Houses


Skills You Need to Survive Ownership

Do you think this is what the civic inspector had in mind when insisting that the electrical panel be labeled?


Kevin Hawes
Assured Home Inspections
Calgary, Alberta


More Home Inspection Nightmares


World's Wildest Houses


Skills You Need to Survive Ownership

"Sure, we can put a window there! All we need to do is remove the post from under that big beam and then nail a 2x6 to the wall so the beam doesn't fall down—and take the house with it."


Dan Chapleski
True North Inspection Services
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho


More Home Inspection Nightmares


World's Wildest Houses


Skills You Need to Survive Ownership

What man cave would be complete without a makeshift urinal? You should see his other funnel -- it looks like a toilet.


Thomas Sansone
National Property Inspections
Rochester, N.Y.


More Home Inspection Nightmares


World's Wildest Houses


Skills You Need to Survive Ownership

So, is the cottage cheese container holding up the shelf or is the shelf holding the cottage cheese container tight so sewer gas does not escape? Or is it both?


Dan Howard
Home Inspections by Dan Howard
Freeport, Pa.


More Home Inspection Nightmares


World's Wildest Houses


Skills You Need to Survive Ownership

The seller kindly left the dog in the back yard during the inspection, with me all alone. I was supposed to talk sweetly to it. It did not work, and I did not enter.


Brandon Dyles
Picture Perfect Inspections
Bartlett, Tenn.


More Home Inspection Nightmares


World's Wildest Houses


Skills You Need to Survive Ownership

Try as I might, I haven't been able to find a reference to frogs in the National Electrical Code.


Bryant Warren
HouseMaster Inspections
Broken Arrow, Okla.


More Home Inspection Nightmares


World's Wildest Houses


Skills You Need to Survive Ownership

I think it is safe to assume that this furnace is not venting properly. I inserted a smoke emitter into the burn chamber and all of the smoke backed up into the attic. A rain cap that was installed on the chimney exhaust left little room for venting.


Brandon Dyles
Picture Perfect Inspections
Bartlett, Tenn.


More Home Inspection Nightmares


World's Wildest Houses


Skills You Need to Survive Ownership

Ranger Rick was none too happy when we asked him to pay his share of the mortgage.


Dan Gartrell
Homestar Real Estate Services, Inc.
Gainesville, Va.


More Home Inspection Nightmares


World's Wildest Houses


Skills You Need to Survive Ownership

The furnace thermostat wire had shorted out on a new, still-vacant house, and this was the inside temperature reading I got. Laminate counter tops were de-laminating.



Alvin C. Miller
Hawkeye Home Inspections LLC
Wellman, Iowa


More Home Inspection Nightmares


World's Wildest Houses


Skills You Need to Survive Ownership

What was the builder thinking ending the downspout right above the electrical panel? After 15 years, guess what the inside of this panel looked like.


Scott Stegall
Carolina HomePro Inspections
Rock Hill, S.C.


More Home Inspection Nightmares


World's Wildest Houses


Skills You Need to Survive Ownership

This is a car battery jumper cable attached to the main electric utility service line. The cord leads back to the electric panel for a house with no power. Why pay for electric when you can do this?


Gary Kershaw
Pillar to Post
Philadelphia, Pa.


More Home Inspection Nightmares


World's Wildest Houses


Skills You Need to Survive Ownership

Why screens on dryer vent backdraft dampers are frowned upon. I found this in a 3½-year-old house.


G. Gilbert Engler
Master Home Inspectors, Inc.
Annandale, Va.


More Home Inspection Nightmares


World's Wildest Houses


Skills You Need to Survive Ownership

This liquid propane tank is being used inside the house to operate a gas stove—a big no-no.


Andy Moore
American Heritage Home Inspection
Seminole, Fl


More Home Inspection Nightmares


World's Wildest Houses


Skills You Need to Survive Ownership

That sheet metal should hold up the rafters at least until we get it sold! This house had an attic fire and was supposedly repaired. The whole roof will have to be rebuilt again.


Alvin C. Miller
Hawkeye Home Inspections, LLC
Wellman, Iowa


More Home Inspection Nightmares


World's Wildest Houses


Skills You Need to Survive Ownership

Looks like this little guy wasn't licensed to work around electricity. Next time, call in the professionals.


Jeff Leighton
Inspect-It 1st Property Inspection
Scarborough, Me.


More Home Inspection Nightmares


World's Wildest Houses


Skills You Need to Survive Ownership

During our unusually cold temps in January, this unfortunate squirrel thought that he'd be OK if he just went down the chimney and followed the source of the heat. He ended up inside the furnace cabinet and got caught between two sections.


Rick Michalicek
Moore Home Inspection Services
St. Louis, Mo.


More Home Inspection Nightmares


World's Wildest Houses


Skills You Need to Survive Ownership

I don't believe this tackle box meets the electrical code in any state or province.


Alden Gibson
Inspections by Gibson
Breslau, Ontario


More Home Inspection Nightmares


World's Wildest Houses


Skills You Need to Survive Ownership

One of the many reasons why Santa needs life insurance.


Rich Madore
Pillar To Post Home Inspections
Newington, Conn.


More Home Inspection Nightmares


World's Wildest Houses


Skills You Need to Survive Ownership

Not the greatest use for an old bicycle inner tube, but at least they're recycling: This is a steam pipe in a 4-unit apartment building.


Stuart Keeshin
Keeshin Inspection Services
Chicago, Ill.


More Home Inspection Nightmares


World's Wildest Houses


Skills You Need to Survive Ownership

Quite a two-fer! This doorstop also makes water.


David Grudzinski
Advantage Home Inspections
Cranston, R.I.


More Home Inspection Nightmares


World's Wildest Houses


Skills You Need to Survive Ownership

Rust, corrosion, and a gaping hole in a vent pipe that angles downward (hot air rises, you know). Sometimes, you just have to wonder.


Clay Ridings
Preferred Home Inspections
Wilmington, Del.


More Home Inspection Nightmares


World's Wildest Houses


Skills You Need to Survive Ownership

They don't build 'em like they used to. This 100-gallon electric water heater was built in March of 1938 and is still delivering hot water like it was built yesterday!


Rich Madore
Pillar To Post Home Inspections
Newington, Conn.


More Home Inspection Nightmares


World's Wildest Houses


Skills You Need to Survive Ownership

of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

More on AOL Real Estate:
Find out how to
calculate mortgage payments.
Find
homes for sale in your area.
Find
foreclosures in your area.
Find homes for rent in your area.

Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.
Read Full Story

Find a New Home

Buy
Rent
Value
Powered by Zillow

From Our Partners