A science teacher from Idaho had made headlines sparking worldwide controversy last year after feeding a sick puppy to a snapping turtle in front of his students. And now after a two-day trial, Robert Crosland, the Preston Junior High School teacher was found not guilty of animal cruelty on Friday evening. A panel of six jurors delivered the verdict to a packed courtroom after deliberating less than 30 minutes following the two-day trial in Franklin County, as reported in Idaho Stateman. He spoke publicly for the first time since the March ordeal after the verdict was read. Man Gets Bitten by a Turtle on Lips After He Tried to Smooch Him During a Fishing Trip in Massachusetts (Watch Video).
Robert was facing one charge of misdemeanour animal cruelty. Crosland and his defence contented that the incident was a humane act of mercy toward the puppy which he said was very ill and near death. In the recorded interview played during his trial he said that he was doing the right thing by putting it out of its misery. The teacher had fed a sick puppy to a turtle named Jaws at Preston Junior High School in front of a few students. The feeding happened after hours at school in the presence of three students.
Crosland said that he had the sick puppy because of his son, Mario Crosland had gotten the animal from a local farmer whose dog had given birth and believed the puppies were taxing the mother’s health. Mario also testified the puppy was sick and refused to eat. That is when Robert decided to feed the puppy to one of his classroom animals. Robert first attempted to feed the pup to a python which did not eat the puppy. The teacher then placed it in the snapping turtle’s tank and the turtle dragged the pup, drowned it and ate it.
The mother of the students and the students defended the teacher’s actions and testified in court that they did not have any issue with Crosland feeding the puppy to the turtle. The incident also led to the death of the snapping turtle which is an invasive species in Idaho for which Crosland did not have the proper permit. Idaho State Department of Agriculture seized and killed the turtle. After the trial, Crosland thanked the community and people who supported him. He remains a teacher at Preston Junior High School.