PRESTON, ID (CBS Local) – An Idaho teacher is facing animal cruelty charges after allegedly feeding a live puppy to a snapping turtle in front of several students.
Preston Junior High School science teacher Robert Crosland was charged with the misdemeanor on June 1 and reportedly faces up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine if convicted, according to CBS News. Crosland was accused by several parents of feeding the small dog to the dangerous turtle in his classroom on March 7.
The turtle was seized by state officials several weeks later and euthanized. The Idaho Department of Agriculture deemed the class pet an invasive, non-native species. “Allowing children to watch an innocent baby puppy scream because it is being fed to an animal. That is violence. That is not OK,” animal rights activist Jill Parrish said, via USA Today.
Crosland, who reportedly kept the deadly turtle, exotic snakes, and other animals in his classroom, regularly fed mice and birds to his collection, according to 7th-grade student Este Hull. Preston School District says the incident occurred after school hours and no students were put in danger by the teacher’s actions.
Some students and parents have come to Crosland’s defense, saying that the puppy was sick and dying at the time. A petition to have the teacher fired has reportedly gathered over 190,000 signatures.