CHITTENANGO, N.Y. – The owner of The Wild Animal Park in Chittenango is being sued by the town of Sullivan for opening a drive-thru safari in May without the proper permits.
The town says the Jeff Taylor opened the park in violation of various town codes and ordinances, and without official approvals.
The town has received a number of complaints about the business operating without any approvals or permits since it opened on May 18, according to town Supervisor John Becker.
Taylor says he was shocked by the lawsuit, but with $70,000 in bills, he needed to open.
"This was just an effort to save the zoo, it was the only thing I could come up with," he said.
Although Taylor admits to not having the proper permits, he says he was in constant communication with the town board members.
"I told them all exactly what I wanted to do and they didn't seem against it, they seem to be semi-supportive without supporting it," he said.
He says the park provides jobs to local teens and brings thousands of visitors to the area. Taylor says he will likely have to close after this year, and the park is tentatively for sale.
A petition has been created to save the zoo at: change.org.