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That Teacher Who Fed a Live Puppy to a Turtle Was Found Not Guilty

Robert Crosland was facing animal cruelty charges, but his students wound up coming to his defense.

by River Donaghey
Jan 7 2019, 7:52pm

Screenshot via East Idaho News

The Idaho teacher who fed a live dog to a snapping turtle in front of his students has been found not guilty of animal cruelty charges, East Idaho News reports.

Last spring, science teacher Robert Crosland somehow wound up with what he said was a sick puppy. According to Crosland, he thought the little dog was on the verge of death—so, for some reason, he brought the ailing pup to school and just let the class's snapping turtle "Jaws" go to town on the thing while a handful of students watched.

At the time, the school district tried to downplay the bizarre incident as a "regrettable circumstance involving some of the biological specimens," but the story quickly went viral anyway. It inspired a whole lot of questions (namely, uh, what the fuck, dude?) and left Crosland facing misdemeanor animal cruelty charges.

But now, after a half-hour deliberation last week, a six-person jury in Idaho has cleared Crosland of any criminal wrongdoing.

According to East Idaho News, several current and former student witnesses testified in favor of Crosland over the course of his two-day trial, some reiterating just how sick the puppy appeared to be and calling Crosland their favorite teacher. Two other science teachers at Crosland's school, Preston Junior High School, spoke to his teaching ability and supposed love for animals.

"I would just like to thank all the support that I've received and I'd like to thank this community for staying behind me," Crosland said after the verdict came down. "It's really what got me through all this."

"Everyone had an issue with this puppy, but Mr. Crosland has several reptiles that feed regularly on live animals and need to feed on live animals, including rats and mice and other snakes," Crosland's defense attorney, Shane Reichert, told East Idaho News. "Yet no one objected or had an issue there... He was just trying to do what was in the best interest of his animals, trying not to waste a life, and teach students the circle of life."

Unfortunately, it sounds like the puppy's life was ultimately wasted in the end, regardless of Crosland's supposed good intentions. Things didn't turn out so well for Jaws the snapping turtle: Apparently Crosland didn't have the proper permitting to own the reptile in the first place, so the unwitting center of this whole batshit saga was euthanized by the Idaho Department of Agriculture. What a goddamn mess.

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animal abuse
science teacher
snapping turtle