Robert Crosland, a middle school science teacher in Preston, Idaho, was recently accused of feeding a live puppy to a snapping turtle in front of students after class.
According to a spokesman for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Crosland’s snapping turtle has been confiscated, and he could be facing a misdemeanor criminal charge for animal abuse.
The Idaho Humane Society is investigating the alleged mistreatment of the puppy as well as whether or not the turtle was legally owned.
As for the seized turtle, wildlife officials are unsure as to what will happen to it. It will either be euthanized or shipped out of state for adoption. (UPDATE: The turtle was euthanized.)
Crosland’s alleged actions have caused nationwide public outrage, with one online petition calling for his termination receiving over 88,000 signatures.
While the national uproar has been substantial, the small farming community of Preston is also outraged – that everyone is making such a big deal about the alleged incident.
The population of Preston is just over 5,300 and more than 2,500 have signed a petition in support of Crosland.
“Two of the three kids present were mine,” said one parent, Farahlyn Hansen. “None of the kids were upset or traumatized, they do not need counseling. They saw the physical state of the very young puppy. It was sick, wouldn’t accept food, and was dying.”
“All of the three kids that were there felt that Robert did the humane and right thing,” she continued. “My children work on farms, they understand life and death.”
“Four of my kids have had him for a science teacher,” said another parent, Amanda Palmer. “They loved their science class, each having their own great experience with Mr. Crosland. I support him 100%. I hope that he will be here to teach my daughter next year.”
Grandmother Dixie Baird also voiced her support. “He has not only taught my kids but now he is teaching my grandkids,” she said. “He is an amazing teacher. He leaves an everlasting impression on his students.”
While he may have the support of the local community, state law does not appear to be on Crosland’s side.
The state of Idaho’s animal abuse laws forbids “intentional and malicious” death as well as “needless suffering” and ‘unnecessary cruelty.”
“I don’t see any exemptions under our state’s animal cruelty codes to indicate that it was okay for a person to kill a puppy by allowing another animal to eat it,” said Jeff Rosenthal, chief executive of the Idaho Humane Society.
“If this was a person who took a puppy and ripped it apart, he would clearly be guilty of animal cruelty. If he took a puppy and drowned it, he would be guilty of animal cruelty,” Rosenthal continued.
“I don’t think it was necessary to teach anything to these children that was gained by feeding a live puppy to a turtle. We don’t teach hypothermia in physiology class by putting kittens in a freezer,” he said.
What do you think about the whole situation? Are Crosland’s actions being blown out of proportion or is the outrage justified? Let us know in the comments below!
Read the original story in the next article below.