A junior high science teacher in Preston, Idaho, is being investigated after he fed a puppy to a snapping turtle in front of students.
Robert Crosland reportedly fed the puppy to the turtle on March 7 after school was out. The turtle is one of a few exotic pets he keeps in his class at Preston Junior High, according to the Salt Lake City station KSTU.
It’s not clear whether the puppy was alive or dead at the time of feeding, according to East Idaho News. It’s also not clear how many students were present.
The puppy was reportedly sick and going to die, but local animal activist Jill Parrish, who filed a police report about the incident, thinks Crosland is the sick one.
“Allowing children to watch an innocent baby puppy scream because it is being fed to an animal. That is violence. That is not okay,” Parrish told the station.
Preston School District 201 Superintendent Marc Gee called the incident “a regrettable circumstance,” but noted in a press release that the event “occurred well after students had been dismissed and was not a part of any school-directed program.”
“We emphasize that at no time was the safety of students or staff compromised,” Gee added.
A former student told East Idaho News that Crosland was known to feed guinea pigs to snakes and snapping turtles during classroom demonstrations.
“He is a cool teacher who really brought science to life,” the former student told the News. “I loved his class because he had turtles and snakes and other cool things.”
Franklin County Sheriff David Fryar says the incident is being investigated to determine if there was a crime.
“We’re investigating the facts and turning it over to the prosecutor,” Fryar told KSTU. “He’s the one who will determine if the law has been broken.”
Reached for comment Tuesday, Fryar told HuffPost a prosecutor statement would be released by the end of the day.
Crosland is still employed by the school district and has not been placed on administrative leave.
His actions are getting support from some students’ parents, like Annette Salvesen.
“If it was a deformed puppy that was going to die anyway, Cros[land] is very much circle of life,” Salvesen told KSTU.