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KIFI: Jury finds Idaho teacher not guilty of animal cruelty

Robert Crosland works at Preston Junior High
(Eli Lucero/Herald Journal via AP)
Posted at 6:40 PM, Jan 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-04 20:46:23-05

PRESTON, Idaho — PRESTON, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - 1/4/19 5:25 p.m.: After about 30 minutes of deliberation, a jury has found Robert Crosland not guilty of animal cruelty.

The latest on the trial for Robert Crosland, a Preston Junior High biology teacher who is charged with one count of animal cruelty after he allegedly fed a sick puppy to a snapping turtle in March.

3:15 p.m. Trial continued Friday afternoon in the Case of the State of Idaho vs Robert Crosland.

Crossland is the Preston Junior High School teacher accused of animal cruelty for feeding a live puppy to a snapping turtle in front of students.

During the Friday morning session, the prosecution called the students that witnessed the puppy being fed to the turtle and Crosland’s son Mario who was the one that gave Crosland the puppy. The puppy had been given to him by a farmer that said it was sick and dying.

Much of the afternoon testimony centered around the puppy’s condition.

In a recording of an interview with investigator Christopher McCormick, Crossland says, “I honestly thought I was doing the right thing by putting it out of its misery."

After the state rested their case just before 3:00 p.m., the defense moved the case be dismissed based on lack of evidence that the puppy suffered.

When the puppy was put into the water with the turtle, it paddled a few times and then the turtle grabbed it and pulled it under the water and it drowned before the turtle started eating it.

The judge ruled that that question was the fact that was best left the jury, so the trial will continue with the defense's case after the afternoon recess.

UPDATE 1/4/19 1:15 p.m.: The Preston Junior High School teacher accused of feeding a live puppy to a snapping turtle is now pleading his case to a jury.

Opening arguments began Friday morning in the State of Idaho vs Robert Crosland.

Crosland is charged with one count of animal cruelty stemming from an incident in March.

In opening arguments, the prosecution contended the puppy may not have been sick and may have been able to survive.

The defense for Crosland said he is a man who is concerned about the welfare of the animals in his care.

The first witness to take the stand was Mario Crosland, son of the defendant, and the one that the puppy was originally given to.

He tearfully 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 has devoted his life to them. He has done all he can to help animals.”

Two other juvenile students who witnessed the event also took the stand and talked about Crosland’s devotion to his students and to the animals in his care.

Crosland is expected to take the stand in his own defense later on Friday.

The trial is expected to finish Friday, but because of the jury selection taking the entire first day, it may last longer.