Teaching students about the circle of life is a science teacher's job, but one Idaho teacher, who has recently been charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty, is no doubt regretting his decision to feed a sick puppy to a snapping turtle in front of students.
According to ABC News, a Preston Junior High School science teacher Robert Crosland faces up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine if convicted.
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.
“The event occurred well after students had been dismissed and was not a part of any school-directed program,” said Marc Gee, a Preston School District 201 superintendent, as reported by East Idaho News in March. “We emphasize that at no time was the safety of students or staff compromised.”
According to multiple parents, Crosland is a popular teacher whose classroom has multiple tanks containing exotic snakes and other animals. Three former students, who wished to remain anonymous, told East Idaho News that they recall Crosland feeding guinea pigs to snakes and snapping turtles for class demonstrations.
According to a recent East Idaho News article, the story made headlines around the world, and many demanded that Crosland be charged. One online petition calling for Crosland to be fired had nearly 189,000 signatures as of Friday afternoon. The Idaho Humane Society asked for a thorough investigation and PETA issued a statement calling Crosland “a bully who should not be allowed near impressionable young people.”
Thousands of others stood behind the popular teacher and a “We Support Crosland” petition had over 3,700 signatures as of Friday afternoon. A mother of two of the three boys in the classroom when the feeding happened told the Preston Citizen the story had been blown out of proportion.
“If anyone has a right to be upset, it is me,” Farahlyn Hansen told the paper. “I am not upset. I felt like it was the more humane thing for Robert to do than to just leave it (the puppy) to die. … The puppy was dying.”
Stephanie Mallory is a mom, a hunter and Realtree’s PR Coordinator. She’s here to deliver an insider’s look at the outdoor business and give her opinion on all things outdoors—whether you asked for it or not.