Teacher investigated for feeding puppy to snapping turtle in front of students

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

PRESTON, Idaho -- Authorities in Idaho are investigating a junior high teacher who fed a live puppy to a snapping turtle in front of students.

KSTU reports that an animal activist - and parent at the school - said the puppy was sick. But the activist said the puppy's condition was no excuse for feeding it to a reptile.

"What I have learned in the last four days is disgusting. It is sick. It is sick," parent Jill Parrish said.

Parrish is the one who filed a police report after hearing about an incident involving Preston Junior High science teacher, Robert Crosland.

A teacher told her that last week after school, Crosland fed a live puppy who was reportedly sick to one of his reptiles. He has a snake and a snapping turtle. Apparently, it all happened in front of students.

"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 said.

"I've only heard him feed like mice or birds to his animals. I feel a little bit better that it was a puppy that was going to die, not just a healthy puppy," said Este Hull, a 7th grader at Preston Junior High.

That sentiment was echoed by some parents.

"If it was a deformed puppy and it was going to die anyway, Cros is very much circle of life," parent Annette Salvesen.

"He's the best science teacher Preston Junior High has," parent Julie Johnson said.

Franklin County Sheriff David Fryar said the department is looking into it.

"We're investigating the facts and turning it over to the prosecutor. He's the one who will determine if the law has been broken," Fryar said.

The superintendent said that Crosland is still employed here at Preston Junior High and while the incident is under investigation, he's not been placed on administrative leave.

Even if the puppy was going to die, some parents said they don't think this was the way to do it.

"There's a lot of humane things you can do. Feeding a live animal to a reptile is not humane and it's not okay," Parrish said.

But other parents say it's just a hands-on way to teach the circle of life.

"If you're not fine with it, leave the room," Salvesen said.

In a statement, the school district referred to the incident as "regrettable," specifying that it was not part of any school-directed program. The district said it is taking measures to ensure that no similar incidents occur in the future.