In a tragic end to a shocking story first reported earlier this week, a snapping turtle has been euthanized by the Idaho State Department of Agriculture. The snapping turtle in question rose to national and even international notoriety after it was reported that the reptile was fed a live puppy by Preston Junior High School science teacher Robert Crosland. As Fox 13 Now reports, the incident allegedly took place on March 7 in Crosland’s classroom after school hours, and in the presence of at least three students.
In another report, Fox 13 Now states that Crossland has not been charged with a crime, or even cited in connection with feeding the live puppy to the now-deceased snapping turtle. According to Farahlyn Hansen, the mother of one of the students present at the time of the feeding, the puppy in question was dying already and had been rejected by its mother. She claims that the situation has been blown out of proportion.
“If anyone has a right to be upset, it is me. I am not upset. I felt like it was the more humane thing for Robert to do than to just leave it (the puppy) to die. The puppy was dying.”
The incident was investigated by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. Crosland is a very popular science teacher at Preston Junior High School, and news of the investigation into his behavior broke on Monday.
The story of the puppy being fed to a snapping turtle by the Idaho teacher quickly went viral, and almost immediately locals and people around the nation took sides. Petitions in support of Crosland and those calling for his immediate termination began to pop up around the internet. One petition, called “We Support Crossland,” gathered more than 3,000 signatures by Thursday night. Another petition, this one calling for the teacher to be fired, has gathered over 90,000 signatures.
Media coverage of the story of the puppy being fed to a snapping turtle has also reportedly resulted in at least one social media threat of violence against the school district and Robert Crosland. That threat was apparently significant enough to cause the Preston City Police Department to contact the FBI, as well as place “multiple uniformed officers” at all schools in the district.
“Preston City Police Chief Peterson and Franklin County Sheriff Fryar have met with district administrators and have determined that the threat warrants continued police presence as a precaution, but that it does not pose a credible threat to the safety of our students. Currently there are multiple uniformed officers located at all Preston School District Schools. They will remain in place throughout the school day.”
WHY DID THEY EUTHANIZE THE TURTLE AND NOT THE TEACHER— Morgan (@AllredSoehl) March 16, 2018
No reason to euthanize the turtle, transfer to a local zoo if the teacher was determined to be at fault.— Casual Professor ???????? (@casualprofessor) March 16, 2018
Aw man. That's sad. Not the turtle's fault.— Tiffany Aldinger (@TiffanyAldinger) March 16, 2018
They should feed the teacher to the turtle.— Doug Blackman (@ShaneBloeser) March 16, 2018
On Thursday night, it was reported that officials with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game had seized the snapping turtle involved with the puppy feeding incident. The request to seize the animal was reportedly made by the Idaho State Department of Agriculture. The snapping turtle was just one of many animals reportedly kept in Robert Crosland’s classroom. After taking custody of the turtle, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game reportedly gave the Idaho State Department of Agriculture custody of the animal.
When it was initially seized, Regional Conservation Educator Jennifer Jackson did not specify why the animal was taken or what might become of it. On Friday afternoon, it was announced that the snapping turtle had been “euthanized humanely.” Snapping turtles are considered an invasive species. The junior high science teacher allegedly lacked the proper permit to own/keep the turtle, according to an Idaho State Department of Agriculture representative.
Because it is considered an invasive species, Idaho officials have “humanely” euthanized a snapping turtle that had been kept in a Preston classroom and allegedly was fed a live, terminally ill puppy last week.https://t.co/KMz5lcfilm— The Salt Lake Tribune (@sltrib) March 16, 2018
Prior to this week’s negative press regarding the dying puppy being fed to a classroom snapping turtle, Robert Crosland had been hailed as a beloved science teacher and has worked at the school in question for years, even being featured in an article published in The Herald Journal in 2000.
“Cages and aquariums line the walls, and they’re not just local snakes and frogs. His room is so interesting even former students still visit. Ninth-graders on Preston High School’s track team sometimes end their training runs at the junior high.”
In a statement issued on March 13, Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney Vic Pearson wrote that police officers have turned over the documents related to their investigation into Crosland and the situation in which he fed the allegedly dying puppy to his snapping turtle in front of students. A conflict of interest in the case caused Pearson to hand over the case to the 6th Judicial District. According to Pearson, it is possible that the science teacher could face animal cruelty charges.
“…law enforcement turned over the incident reports regarding their investigation into my office for review of potential animal cruelty charges against the teacher involved.”