US teacher who fed a sick puppy to a snapping turtle is charged with animal cruelty

Idaho science teacher Robert Crosland is accused of feeding the small dog to the turtle in a demonstration to pupils in March

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 June, 2018, 1:47am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 June, 2018, 7:56pm

An Idaho teacher accused of feeding a sick puppy to a snapping turtle in front of pupils has been charged with misdemeanour animal cruelty.

The Preston Junior High School science teacher, Robert Crosland, sparked outrage when he was accused of feeding the small dog to the turtle as part of a demonstration to students in March.

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Later that month, state officials euthanized the turtle. The Idaho Department of Agriculture has deemed the species invasive.

Crosland, charged Friday, now faces up to six months in jail and US$5,000 fine if convicted.

Idaho’s attorney general assigned a special prosecutor to the case after a Franklin County prosecutor recused himself because of a conflict of interest, reported.

Preston, Idaho, is about halfway between Salt Lake City and Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Animal rights activist Jill Parrish filed a police report after hearing about the incident in March, but some pupils and parents came to Crosland’s defence.

“If it was a deformed puppy that was going to die anyway. Cros[land] is very much circle of life,” parent Annette Salvesen told KSTU-TV, Salt Lake City, in March.

“The event occurred well after students had been dismissed and was not a part of any school-directed programme,” Preston School District officials said in a March statement.

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“We emphasise that at no time was the safety of students or staff compromised.”

Preston, best known for being the town featured in quirky comedy film Napoleon Dynamite, has a population of roughly 5,200.