Teacher who fed live puppy to snapping turtle in front of students found not guilty of animal cruelty

An Idaho science teacher who reportedly fed a puppy to a snapping turtle in front of his students was acquitted of misdemeanor animal cruelty on Friday, USA Today reported.

Robert Crosland, a teacher at Preston Junior High, came under national scrutiny last year after allegations emerged in March that he had he placed a live puppy in an aquarium with a snapping turtle in his classroom.

Crosland was later charged with the crime in June and reportedly faced six months in jail and a $5,000 fine for the incident, but a local jury later found him not guilty of the crime on Friday after deliberating for half an hour.

“Obviously we didn’t believe the facts amounted to a criminal offense when the law was applied,” Shane Reichert, a lawyer representing Crosland, told the Idaho State Journal.

“The reality was that there was a ton of misinformation and gossip that were not actual facts or evidence,” he continued. 

Though the teacher’s lawyers reportedly admitted to the jury that Crosland did feed a live puppy to the turtle in front of his students, they also contended that Crosland thought he was doing what was best for the puppy, which was allegedly ill and dying at the time.

“I honestly thought I was doing the right thing by putting it out of its misery. That is why this has been so hard. I was always taught to not let the animals suffer,” Crosland reportedly told prosecutors in April.

The turtle, which was owned by Crosland, has since reportedly been euthanized by the state Department of Agriculture. Crosland did not reportedly have a permit for the turtle and it had also been deemed an invasive species in Idaho.

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