A science teacher from Preston, Idaho, has been found not guilty of animal cruelty after he reportedly fed a sick puppy to a snapping turtle.
Robert Crosland made headlines in March last year when it was reported students witnessed him putting the puppy in the turtle’s aquarium after school hours.
However, after a two day trial, a jury found the teacher not guilty of animal cruelty, based on lack of evidence the sick puppy suffered.
It was revealed in the trial, Crosland placed the puppy in the water, before the turtle pulled it below the surface. The puppy drowned before the snapping turtle ate it.
According to Local News 8, a large portion of the trial focussed on the condition of the sick puppy, which was given to Crosland’s son, Mario, by a farmer. The puppy was reportedly dying.
In a recording of an interview between investigator Christopher McCormick and Crosland, the teacher can be heard saying:
I honestly thought I was doing the right thing by putting it out of its misery. That’s what’s been so hard in seeing all this because that’s what I’ve been taught my whole life not to let the animal suffer.
Mario Crosland described his father as:
A guy who will do anything he can to save an animal. His whole life has been for animals, and seeing people try to destroy him when he’s has devoted his life to them. He has done all he can to help animals.
Other students who witnessed the event also talked about the teacher’s devotion and care towards animals.
The judge ruled the question of animal cruelty was best left to the jury.
They decided there wasn’t enough evidence the puppy, which was already sick and unlikely to survive, suffered any harm. The jury deliberated for 30 minutes before deciding Crosland was not guilty of animal cruelty.
Snapping turtles are known for their aggressive nature and powerful jaws and, as omnivores, feed on anything from plants to small mammals, snakes, and birds.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.