OCALA, FL (CBS Local) – A Florida teacher accused of drowning two raccoons and an opossum in front of his students will not face criminal charges, according to the state attorney’s office.
Forest High School agricultural science teacher Dewie Brewton allegedly killed the three trapped animals by lowering their cages into a trash can that had been filled with water on May 15. Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Brad King claims the teacher did not “torment” the animals and was not unnecessarily cruel when he drowned them.
Brewton, who was removed from the classroom after the incident, told investigators that eight of his class’s chickens had been killed by raccoons and he set out to trap them. Brewton “explained that the most humane way to dispose of these nuisance animals was to drown them. He was clear that he never intended to be cruel,” King wrote in a memo, obtained by WKMG.
A graphic video of the incident was sent to reporters at WKMG, which allegedly shows several students helping Brewton to hold the cages underwater as the raccoons tried to escape. “I don’t think that’s the way to treat any animal. Whether it is a raccoon or (another animal) you just don’t torture an animal and kill it like that,” a student’s mother added.
Despite being cleared of wrongdoing in the controversial case, Brewton retired from teaching days after the drownings. A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission official questioned in the criminal case said he didn’t think the teacher acted with malice, however he recommended to never again use drowning as a form of dealing with “nuisance” animals.