Robert Crosland Found Not Guilty Of Animal Cruelty After Feeding Puppy To A Snapping Turtle In Front Of Class

'I honestly thought I was doing the right thing by putting it out of its misery.'

stock photo of a snapping turtle
Sista Vongjintanaruks / Shutterstock

'I honestly thought I was doing the right thing by putting it out of its misery.'

Robert Crosland, the Idaho science teacher who famously fed a sick and dying (though still very much alive) puppy to a snapping turtle in front of a group of shocked junior high school students, has been found not guilty of animal cruelty charges, the Herald Journal is reporting.

Way back in March 2018, as the Inquisitr reported at the time, Crosland, a popular science teacher in the Preston School District, gave a science demonstration to his students that he would later go on to regret. That day, outside of regular classroom instruction time and in front of students who specifically wanted to be there, Preston set about to feeding his reptiles that he kept in his classroom, as he did every day. Usually he fed them mice or similar small animals.

But that particular day, he had something else in mind: a weeks-old puppy.

According to testimony at his trial last week, Crosland had come into possession of the puppy, who was sickly and weak from his mother being unable to feed him, through his son. Crosland apparently tried to nurse the pup back to health, to no avail. So he decided to put the animal down; just not in the most humane way.

Warning: the next paragraph contains content that may be disturbing to some readers.

Back in the lab, before school, Crosland tried to feed the puppy to his python, who wasn’t interested. He tried again in the afternoon; again, the snake wasn’t interested. By this point the pup was crying from hunger, so he took the animal to the tank where the snapping turtle was kept. The turtle grabbed the puppy by the leg, dragged it under the water, drowned it, then “ripped it apart” and ate it.

After the District Attorney’s office spent a few months compiling a case, Crosland was brought before a court on animal cruelty charges.

During his trial, prosecutors reminded jurors that Crosland fed a sick, dying (though still alive), and helpless animal to a predator who drowned him and ate him, in front of terrified schoolchildren. His defense, however, noted that the animal was in misery and wasn’t long for this world to begin with. The court also heard testimony from Crosland’s students, who almost unanimously praised the teacher for his enthusiasm for science, his engaging lessons, and his desire to see them succeed.

Eventually, the jury sided with Crosland, handing down a not guilty verdict. The courtroom erupted in applause.

Crosland is still a teacher in the Preston School District, and his live animals are still in his science lab. He says he will continue to feed them live food, as that’s what wild reptiles eat.

“I am extremely happy, greatly relieved and want to wish my sincere thanks to the community.”