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Questions for the Science Teacher Who Allegedly Fed a Live Puppy to a Turtle

We've got a few.

by Drew Schwartz
Mar 13 2018, 7:43pm

Photo of a snapping turtle by Flickr user Tom Woodward; photo of Crosland via Preston Junior High; photo of a puppy by Flickr user localpups 

For high school and junior high students, science class can be a place where one can learn about humans' insignificant place in the world's ecosystem, or how to jump rope using cat intestines. It all really depends on what kind of teacher is running the show. But even the most creative of public school educators don't often find themselves at the middle of a police investigation due to their teaching practices, like one teacher in Idaho who allegedly fed a puppy to a snapping turtle in front of a bunch of students.

According to East Idaho News, Robert Crosland allegedly served the reptile a defenseless pup one day after school last week. Now, police are investigating exactly what went down after a local animal rights activist reported Crosland for animal cruelty, USA Today reports. KSTU reports the dog was alive when it was eaten, though it was apparently sick, for whatever that's worth, and the school superintendent hasn't commented on how many students were present.

The school district has been vague about the situation, describing it as a "regrettable circumstance involving some of the biological specimens" at the middle school in Preston, Idaho, and hasn't confirmed whether or not some students caught a glimpse of the show. Crosland reportedly has a history of feeding other animals (like mice and birds) to his collection of reptiles—but there are a whole host of questions that still need answering. First and foremost:

Where'd you get the puppy?

Was it his own dog? And, if so, how many times did it have to pee all over the carpet or chew up furniture before he got so pissed off he allegedly fed it to a turtle? Was the thing so sick he couldn't pay for it to be euthanized? And if it wasn't his own pup, how does one find an ailing, dying puppy to turn into reptile chow? Do you go rummaging around near some dumpster for strays? Take out an ad on Craigslist?

Do snapping turtles even eat dogs?

It turns out that snapping turtles do, evidently, eat more than plants and small fish. Usually, the omnivores will chow down on insects, spiders, frogs, snakes, birds, small mammals, and even their own kind, but cute, dying puppies doesn't seem to be a consistent menu item. It's likely then that this incident started, like any well-designed experiment, with Crosland posing a question: Will my snapping turtle eat a live puppy? Then came the background research before Crosland, science teacher that he is, ostensibly formed his hypothesis: When presented with a live puppy, my snapping turtle will, in fact, eat it. Which would make this one of the most fucked up "experiments" of all time.

Is this part of the Common Core?

Maybe this puppy was mauled to death by a snapping turtle due to one man's bad judgment, but just maybe, there's some fucked-up chapter in the Common Core curriculum nobody knows about. Next to the segment on cumulus clouds, before you get to sedimentary rocks and stalactites, perhaps there's a paragraph all about the best way to feed a bloodthirsty reptile the cutest animal known to man. Or maybe Crosland just went a little off book.

What kind of lesson were you trying to teach here?

Assuming that a handful of students may have witnessed this atrocity, Crosland ostensibly could have used it as a lesson. But what the hell do you learn from watching a turtle eat an innocent ball of fluff alive? If Crosland wanted to enlighten his students about the fact that snapping turtles will chow down on pretty much anything, he could've just told them. Maybe he wanted to show them exactly how powerful the reptiles' jaws are—but, you know, that's why we have YouTube. So what the hell was the point, here? Something about the circle of life? We've got Planet Earth for that.

What kind of puppy was it?

Admittedly, this doesn't really matter. Still, we'd like to know.

What did puppies ever do to you?

It's understandable to take out some mangy, problematic pest like a possum, or feed a turtle a rat, because they’re gross, and there are too many of them. But a puppy? What could anyone possibly have against puppies?

For now, Crosland is still teaching at Preston Junior High School as local law enforcement continues its investigation. Maybe police will turn up some dog-related horror story from Crosland's past—a Rottweiler bit him as a kid, or some neighborhood mutt spent years dropping deuces in his lawn. Who knows: Maybe, long, long ago, some dog ate one of his pet turtles, and last week's "experiment" was just payback.

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Related: Nazi-Punching Teacher

animal cruelty
science teacher
snapping turtle
robert crosland