The snapping turtle in the middle of a controversy at Preston Junior High in Idaho has met a sad fate. As a part of the investigation into the antics of science teacher Robert Crosland, the turtle was taken into the custody of the Idaho Department of Agriculture. They made the call to have it humanely euthanized the same day it was taken into custody.
Crosland is still working in Preston, Idaho. He garnered national attention last week after students reported that he fed a live puppy to the snapping turtle in front of students. There are parents all over the country coming forward to demand justice for the students who witnessed the feeding. At this time one of three online petitions calling for Crosland to be fired has collected over 90,000 signatures.
At the same time that the online signatures were being collected, locals in Preston rallied behind the well-loved teacher. They were able to obtain 3,000 signatures showing their support for Crosland.
At least one of the parents of the kids who witnessed the turtle feeding has come out to support the teacher. Farahlyn Hansen is the mother of two of the boys who watched as a live puppy was fed to the snapping turtle.
Hansen shared that she felt the entire event was blown out of proportion. Even though the puppy was alive when it was given to the turtle to eat, she stated that the puppy was not going to live anyway.
It seems the puppy in question was rejected by its mother and left to fend for itself. Instead of trying to feed the puppy or render care, the teacher decided to feed it to the turtle. Hansen described this act as being “humane” to the puppy.
According to Hansen:
“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.”
Even though Crosland has not been charged with any crimes as of yet, many are pushing for this to happen. It seems that local authorities are not confident in their abilities to stay neutral, so they have turned over the case to a jurisdiction outside of the area.
The Franklin County Sheriff’s Department investigated the matter. They had turned over their findings to the Prosecuting Attorney of Franklin County, Vic Pearson. He cited a conflict of interest and did not take the case.
Pearson turned the case over to the “6th Judicial District prosecuting attorney” for assistance. It is not clear if they are going to pass down criminal charges at this time.
The Idaho Humane Society is also looking into the case. They have made several public statements about their desire to have authorities take the matter seriously and investigate the possible animal cruelty.
PETA has taken this a step further as they mount a personal attack against the teacher. They have made it clear they do not see anything acceptable about what occurred in Idaho.
PETA on the national level has also waged a campaign against Preston Junior High. They are citing the extreme damage the teacher may have done to students in feeding the turtle both the puppy and guinea pigs in the past.
According to a statement from PETA:
“This teacher — who is allegedly known for feeding guinea pigs to reptiles during lessons — is a bully who should not be allowed near impressionable young people. Any youngster who witnessed cruelty in the classroom is now in desperate need of lessons about having empathy for other living beings.”
Stephanie Bell, who is the PETA Senior Director or Cruelty Casework, is taking a personal stand in this case.
She is behind a significant movement to force the school to take responsibility for the trauma the students witnessing the feedings may feel.
What is interesting in this case that everyone outside of Preston, Idaho seems to have a very different take on the event than those within the small town. This might be tied to Crosland’s history in the local school district.
Many parents have shown support for the teacher even though the students were traumatized by the graphic feedings.
This case is not likely to go away quietly as the school district is buried under phone calls, emails, and letters demanding Crosland leave the school.
The fallout from this incident took on a violent undertone late last week as both the school and the district started to get threats.
The school beefed up security after a Facebook post encouraging those in the area to act out against the district.
Local authorities followed up on the threat and deemed it was nothing but a hoax.
Members of the district leadership have not made any statements about the ongoing case or the calls to fire Crosland.