An Idaho teacher accused of feeding a sick puppy to a snapping turtle in front of several students has been charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty.
Preston Junior High School science teacher Robert Crosland was charged Friday. He faces up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine if convicted. The school is in rural Preston, where the 2004 teen cult classic film “Napoleon Dynamite” was set.
The Idaho Attorney General’s Office handled the investigation after Franklin County Prosecutor Vic Pearson cited a conflict of interest.
Several parents came forward to say Crosland fed the puppy to the turtle on March 7. Several weeks later, state officials seized the turtle and euthanized it as a non-native species.
Animal activist Jill Parrish told Fox 13 that she filed a police report when she became aware of the incident.
“What I have learned in the last four days is disgusting. It is sick. It is sick,” said Parrish. “Allowing children to watch an innocent baby puppy scream because it is being fed to an animal. That is violence. That is not OK.”
Some parents and students feel that if the puppy was going to die anyway, it’s a different matter.
“If it was a deformed puppy that was going to die anyway, Cros[land] is very much circle of life,” said parent Annette Salvesen. “If you’re not fine with it, leave the room.”
Parrish still feels feeding the puppy to the turtle was wrong.
“There’s a lot of humane things you can do. Feeding a live animal to a reptile is not humane and it’s not OK,” said Parrish.
Former students who wished to remain anonymous told East Idaho News that Crosland is a popular teacher who has exotic snakes and other creatures in his classroom. All said they recall the teacher feeding guinea pigs to snakes and snapping turtles during classroom demonstrations.
Science teacher charged after he reportedly fed puppy to class snapping turtle