In March last year Robert Crosland, a biology teacher at Preston Junior High School in Idaho, fed a live puppy to a snapping turtle in front of his students.
While the incident made news all over the world angering animal rights activists and, well, people in general, some of the student’s parents expressed frustration over the ordeal and have defended the teacher.
KTVB reported that Preston School District 201 Superintendent Marc Gee had called the incident a “regrettable circumstance” but explained it happened after school hours and not in front of a full class of students.
However, on Friday Crosland was found not guilty of animal cruelty by a six person jury after a two day trial at Franklin County Court.
Apparently the jury deliberated for less than thirty minutes before reaching their not guilty verdict.
Speaking to the press Crosland said:
“I would just like to thank all [for] the support that I’ve received, I’d like to thank this community for staying behind me. It’s really what got me through all of this.”
During the trial a witness testified that Crosland’s son received the puppy from a local farmer, the son realised the puppy was very ill and refused to eat it’s food.
He and his sister attempted to nurse the puppy back to health but after a while it became clear that the puppy wouldn’t make it. Apparently the puppy was cloudy eyed and dangerously under-weight.
So they gave the puppy to their father who decided to feed it to either his python or the turtle. Crosland had previously been known to feed live animals to his pets which he keeps in the biology classroom.
The snake wouldn’t take the sick puppy, so Crosland offered the puppy to the turtle which pulled it underwater and proceeded to eat it.
Prosecutors argued the case of animal cruelty by saying the puppy suffered but the defence team said Robert was a known lover of animals and a well regarded teacher.
The students present in court acted as witnesses and attested to the defence team’s argument.
Shortly after the story made the news, Idaho Dept of Agriculture, seized and euthanised the turtle as the species is considered an invasive species within the state.