- Robert Crosland, a science teacher at Preston Junior High School in Preston, Idaho, was found not guilty of animal cruelty.
- The charge stemmed from an incident in which he says he fed a sick puppy to his classroom snapping turtle to put it “out of its misery.”
- His son had been given the puppy by a local farmer, and testified that it was close to death.
- Students were in the classroom when Crosland fed the puppy to the snapping turtle after school hours.
An Idaho teacher who fed a sick puppy to a snapping turtle in front of students has been found not guilty of animal cruelty, according to multiple reports.
Robert Crosland, a science teacher at Preston Junior High School in Preston, Idaho, never disputed that he fed the puppy to his classroom’s pet turtle in March, according to Fox 13.
But his defence attorney, Stratton Laggis, argued in court on Friday that no crime was committed, and Crosland told investigators at the time that he thought he was “doing the right thing” by putting the puppy “out of its misery,” KIFI reported.
In March 2018, Crosland had been charged in Franklin County with misdemeanour animal cruelty after he was reported to police for allegedly feeding a sick, dying puppy to a snapping turtle.
Prosecutor David Morris said the incident happened after hours in his classroom, when three students were present.
Crosland said his son had gotten the puppy from a local farmer whose dog had given birth, East Idaho News reported.
He said the farmer believed the puppies were taxing the mother’s health and gave them away.
Crosland’s son, Mario, testified during his father’s trial saying that the puppy refused to eat and his death was eminent.
It was then that Crosland decided to feed the puppy to his school pets.
According to students’ testimony at the trial, Crosland first tried feeding the puppy to a python before placing the puppy in the snapping turtle’s tank when the snake was not interested.
According to local reports, the puppy swam briefly before the turtle dragged it to the bottom of the tank, where it drowned before the turtle started eating it.
When news of the incident circulated locally, the Idaho State Department of Agriculture seized and killed the turtle when they learned Crosland didn’t have a permit for the animal, which is considered an invasive species in Idaho.
The students present testified that they did not have a problem with Crosland feeding the puppy to the turtle.
A jury determined he was not guilty after half an hour of deliberation. Crosland is still a teacher at Preston Junior High School.
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