Teacher accused of feeding a puppy to a snapping turtle has finally been charged
There's a lot of strange and terrible news going around this year, so it can be hard to keep up on top of all of it. So, you may have missed it when we first learned about what went down at Preston Junior High School, Idaho, back in March this year.
You might have seen some dodgy things go down in science class when you were at school (my high school was evacuated after a chemistry teacher gave students the wrong chemicals during an experiment) but I'd say it's pretty unlikely you came across anything quite like what happened with Robert Crosland.
The biology teacher was accused of feeding a small, sick dog, to a snapping turtle - all as part of a demonstration to students. Since the event, some of these claims have been challenged (such as whether this took place as part of a demonstration during school hours) but the fact remains that the dog was fed to the turtle. And, according to local activists, the puppy was alive during the event.
This isn't an isolated occasion, however. Three former students claimed that they have seen Crosland feed guinea pigs to “snakes and turtles during classroom demonstrations". In this case, it has been said that the dog was in poor health and close to death prior to the incident. "He is a cool teacher who really brought science to life,” one told the East Idaho News. "I loved his class because he had turtles and snakes and other cool things."
Animal rights activist Jill Parrish filed a police report after hearing about the incident, calling Crosland's actions "sick". At the time, Superintendent Marc Gee explained to the East Idaho News:
"While the district certainly does not condone individual actions that may violate district policy or reasonable expectations of behavior, we hope that any errors in judgment made by a teacher in this instance will not cause us to forget the years of care, effort and passion the teacher has given to students in Preston School District."
The attorney general assigned a special prosecutor to the case, after a prosecutor from Franklin County recused himself due to a conflict of interest. Later that month, state officials euthanised the turtle. Now, it has been revealed that Crosland has been charged with misdemeanour animal cruelty.
However, some did come to Crosland's defense, with many in the local community believing that the fact the puppy was terminally ill made it okay to feed it to the turtle. "If it was a deformed puppy that was going to die anyway," parent Annette Salvesen told KSTU-TV. "Crosland is very much circle of life."
"The event occurred well after students had been dismissed and was not a part of any school-directed program," Preston School District officials said in a March statement. "We emphasize that at no time was the safety of students or staff compromised."
Crosland was charged on Friday, and now faces up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine if he's convicted.