Teacher Who Fed Puppy To Snapping Turtle Found Not Guilty Of Animal Cruelty

A jury has found a school teacher who fed a live puppy to a snapping turtle in front of shocked students not guilty of animal cruelty.

In March 2018, Robert Crosland was charged with one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty after local residents reported him to police for feeding the sick puppy to a snapping turtle at Preston Junior High School in Eastern Idaho.

Prosecutor David Morris said the incident occurred after normal school hours with four students present, some of which testified at Friday's trial.

Throughout the trial, multiple witnesses testified that the puppy was alive when it was fed to the turtle, but that it was sick and likely to die.

Robert Crosland. Image: Preston School District

One teenager said his teacher had told him he had a sick puppy and asked if the student was interested in taking it home.

After the student declined, Crosland told him and his friends he would feed the puppy to the snapping turtle and asked if they would like to watch, Fox reports. 

"He let us hold it first," the student said, referring to the puppy.

"It was small, one-handed size for a person with big hands."

He said Crosland then put the puppy in the turtle's tank where it swam around before the turtle dragged it to the bottom.

Another one of the students said he had also held the puppy and was able to see its ribs.

"I honestly thought I was doing the right thing," Crosland said during a recorded interview presented during the trial, according to the Idaho Statesman. 

"That’s what’s been so hard in seeing all this because that’s what I’ve been taught my whole life not to let the animal suffer."

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Crosland's son, Mario, also testified during the two-day trial, arguing the loss of the puppy's life was for the benefit of another.

"His whole life has been for animals, and seeing people try to destroy him when he’s has devoted his life to them," Mario emotionally testified before the court.

"He has done all he can to help animals.”

The incident last year garnered Crosland wide condemnation, with a petition to have him fired acquiring more than 243,000 signatures.