The story of a junior high science teacher reportedly feeding a sick puppy to the turtle last week has caused outrage online and consternation in the small farming community of Preston, Idaho where it happened.
Preston Junior High science teacher Robert Crosland is under fire after it was revealed that he fed the dying puppy to a snapping turtle he kept in his classroom.
Three boys were in the classroom helping him feed his animal after school had ended when the incident occurred, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.
A school staff member overheard what happened, relayed it to someone, and that person filed a complaint with local police. Since that time the teacher and school has received harsh criticism from animal rights groups and their supporters, as well as violent threats.
According to friends of Crosland, although Crosland did feed the puppy to the turtle, the full details surrounding the story have been distorted and misconstrued.
Crosland is reportedly well-known in the community for taking in hurt and sick animals. A man apparently brought Crosland a sick, deformed and abandoned puppy, prior to the turtle feeding, although it is said the man knew the puppy needed to be put down.
Apparently, the puppy was dying according to River McKay, a former student of Crosland’s and a good friend of the teacher. McKay said he learned what happened from the mother of two of the boys who witnessed the incident and relayed the story to the newspaper.
When Crosland knew the puppy was “beyond saving” he put the puppy into the snapping turtle’s tank where the puppy was drowned and eaten, according to McKay.
The three boys who watched apparently all work on farms and are said to have understood what was happening according to the two of the boys’ mothers.
However, a school staff member overheard and yelled at Crosland. That person reportedly sent details of what happened via text message to a woman, who filed a complaint of animal cruelty with the Franklin County sheriff’s office.
When word got out, it spread like wildfire on social media and Crosland and the school have since received harsh criticism that has since escalated to death threats. The threats have become so serious that the FBI has been contacted by ldaho law enforcement and police officers have been posted at all Preston School District schools.
The community is shaken by the reaction on social media and the threats received by the school.
“It’s really hard on a small community, like Preston, to watch them tear apart somebody that everybody loves,” McKay said. “Nobody understands how close-knit of a community it is and how much we stand behind the teacher who has changed thousands of peoples’ lives.”
However, authorities are taking the matter seriously and are continuing to investigate what happened. They have said that the high volume of calls being received by law enforcement are “hindering our ability to complete what needs to be done to reach the end goal of justice in this case,” according to a news release.
The Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney is currently reviewing police reports to determine if potential animal cruelty charges will be brought against Crosland. Crosland has remained at work, pending the results of the district’s investigation, the Associated Press reported, but he has not spoken to any news outlets at the time of this article’s publishing.
Meanwhile, the snapping turtle has been “humanely” euthanized by the Idaho State Department of Agriculture because it is considered an invasive species.